East of the border
BY TAMARA WIEDER
If you’re one of those people for whom East Boston is simply an area you must pass through — albeit briefly — on the way to the airport, you’re missing out. There are plenty of reasons to pay a visit to Eastie — not the least of which is El Rancho Grande Restaurant, a family-run Mexican taqueria in Day Square.
El Rancho Grande isn’t long on décor — the walls are decorated with the standard sombreros, serapes, and posters advertising Mexican beverages, and the floor could use a scrubbing. But don’t come here for the ambiance; come for the food. Start with an order of homemade guacamole ($3.50); you can specify how spicy or mild you like it, then watch as it’s made just behind the counter. Then try the delectable Enchiladas Veracruzanas ($8.50) — soft, rolled tortillas filled with shrimp, covered with sauce and melted cheese, and served with fried rice, fried beans, and salad. In fact, most of the entrées at El Rancho Grande come with rice, beans, and salad, but if you’d prefer smaller, cheaper portions — the better to taste more — you can order the main dishes as single items. So instead of the Chiles Rellenos de Queso (poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and covered with tomato sauce) platter for $7.50, we ordered a single stuffed pepper, for which we paid $2.50. Ditto the Enchiladas Verdes, tortillas filled with beef and covered with a brilliant green sauce: a single enchilada set us back $1.50. The menu doesn’t advertise this ordering option, but now you’re in the know.
The Martinez family also offers Mexican subs, soups, and sodas, including the bottled, non-alcoholic Señorial Sangría (the restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license). East Boston may not be your usual dining destination, but El Rancho Grande just might make you redraw your culinary map.
El Rancho Grande Restaurant, located at 300 Bennington Street (Day Square), in East Boston, is open Wednesday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Call (617) 561-5111.Issue Date: December 20 - 27, 2001
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