Eat It: Mi Rancho Meat Market
by Remley Roe
photo courtesy of Mi Rancho Meat Market Facebook page
Take yourself on a journey down Northwest Avenue and when you’ve come across Yeagers, turn and enter the taco plaza. There are three (technically four if you count the Village Inn’s taco night) places to satisfy your cravings for them, but one stands out above the others.
Enter: Mi Rancho Meat Market.
It began as a butcher shop that also sold tacos and then grew in to a small grocery store with tacos. Now it is a restaurant. Still with tacos. If you haven’t been there yet you’ve been denying yourself a real pleasure. Street tacos served on a single 3-inch home made tortilla for a buck. It’s a great deal and a great taco.
One of the few inhibitors of the operation was always the space. The dining area was tucked in the back, behind the butcher case or the couple of random tables in the grocery section could feel intimidating if this was your first time there. The service was quick and snappy but didn’t always take time to stop and explain how the set up worked. The drinks were all serve yourself in the cold cases throughout the store. There was no menu to speak of, except occasional hand written signs on the butcher counter that were easily neglected.
Fortunately this is no longer the case.
This last month Mi Rancho took over the vacant Brotha Dudes space and added a proper dining room to their ever growing enterprise. They expanded the wait staff, have proper menus and a variety of Mexican beers on draft (and a couple of local IPAs because this is still Washington after all).
On my most recent visit I did a quick tour of the new space which was not even comparable to their old seating set up because it is so vastly better. As you walk in their is a large deli case with deserts that I gave a once over. They all looked delicious but they were not the mission of the day. I wanted some tacos.
It was a nice day so I grabbed a seat on the patio. I was quickly greeted and brought a basket of chips with their holy trio: two hot salsas and a small bowl of whole beans. The red and green are both wonderful but don’t hold back in terms of heat for being their house salsas. The beans are such a great compliment and add huge sustenance to the pre-meal snack. I wish that beans came standard at every restaurant but for now, they are setting Mi Rancho a cut above the rest. I have gone to this place just for these beans. But to be fair, I love beans.
I ordered a horchata and my standard medium level hunger order: six tacos. On this visit I got two veggie tacos, two asada tacos and two pork with pineapple. I hesitate to call this Al Pastor because I have never seen them label it as such but if that’s what this is, great. It’s awesome. The order came up quickly and everything was amazing. The horchata was sweet and refreshing. The tacos were, as always, perfect. Small, perfect tortilla and meat balance and a little garnish of onion and cilantro. A few pieces of radish surround the tacos to apply as needed. A bit of lime squeezed over the plate. It’s perfection.
My goal for the next few months is to try the rest of the menu. There are burritos, tortas, taco salads, quesadillas and weekend only soups. They have massively expanded their pastry selection and every time I walk by the cart I want to try them all. This place produces amazing food all around and we all deserve to enjoy it.
And to that point, this place also provides something that this neighborhood can always use. This is a fun, family run business that puts out great affordable food. They have a great butcher case that sells delicious marinated meats at great prices. It’s always busy, it’s always friendly and it’s always good. Even if you aren’t in the mood to sit down to have a beverage and eat some tacos then keep it in mind next time you are barbecuing or even just need to pick up a six-pack of beer. This is the kind of place that deserves to flourish, so give them your business.
You can visit Mi Rancho Meat Market at 3092 Northwest Ave.