100 Favorite Dishes, No. 62: Cabrito a la Parilla at El Ranchito

El Ranchito cabrito a la parrilla.jpg
El Ranchito will get your goat.
To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.

You will know El Ranchito is special before you even get through the door, because there's often a line running out of it along Jefferson Boulevard. These aren't gringos waiting for fajitas while they twiddle their thumbs, but locals from the largely Latino neighborhood, and every time one of them opens the door loud mariachi music pours into the streets.

You can order fajitas if you want to, but the reason to come here are the authentic Mexican dishes the owners prepare with care. Tripas, mollejas (sweet breads) and an authentic beef stew are just a few of the dishes served here that hail from Northern Mexico and blow away your standard sour cream enchilada. Then there's the cabrito a la parilla.

Nearly everything tastes better when grilled, but there's something about the smell of goat roasting over open coals that particularly alluring -- the gamey goat flavors are enhanced by the subtle smoky perfume -- and because these goats are quite young, you won't have to worry about too much chewing to enjoy them.

Grab a tortilla, hold it in your palm and use a fork to scrape up as much cabrito as you can safely tuck inside. Make sure to grab a few onions and peppers while you're at it too, and if you're looking for heat, add maybe a sliver of jalapeno. Now paint the whole thing with a little of the salsa that's on your table. Tacos you build yourself always seem to taste a bit more delicious. Tacos filled with tender smoky goat meat might be the best tacos of all.

No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher
No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill
No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna
No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas
No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing
No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah
No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake
No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet
No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co.
No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me
No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen
No. 87: The White Album at Spoon
No. 86: Ramen at Tei An
No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco
No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu
No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon
No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata
No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue
No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai
No. 79: Shish Tawook at Qariah
No. 78: Arepes at Zaguan
No. 77: Goat Momo at Everest Restaurant
No. 76: Steak Tartar at Gemma
No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's
No. 74: Spicy Fish in Oil at Royal Sichuan
No. 73: Pupusas at La Pasadita
No. 72: The Kathi Roll at Simply Dosa
No. 71: The Chicken Wings at Teppo
No. 70: Cheesesteak at Truck Yard
No. 69: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's
No. 68: Birria Tacos at Los Torres Taqueria
No. 67: Bulgogi Cheesesteak at Say Kimchi
No. 66: Suadero Tacos at La Banqueta
No. 65: Brian Luscher's Post Oak Red Hot
No. 64: Banana Flower Salad at Mot Hai Ba
No. 63: Quatro Leches Cake At Mesero Miguel

Location Info

El Ranchito Cafe & Club

610 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Seems like not too long ago you were gauging mexican, tex-mex, mex-mex places on their fajitas. So patronizing gringos who order them might be a bit misguided. Nonetheless, the means justify the ends b/c El Ranchito is one of the best in Dallas and their cabrito is divine. Also recommend the cabrito guisada.


A friend was in town week before last, a born and raised Connecticut yankee now living in Denver. Decided to show him some true local flavor. Cabrito and Mariachis. And Santos on tap.

Loves me some Ranchito.


Viva la Cabrito! 

ps-My neighbor had a Mariachi band in his backyard this past weekend; sounded real cool. 

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