The Ranch: A Review | Dining In Irving, TX
The Ranch at Las Colinas is one of the many phenomenal spots to grab a bite to eat in Irving, Texas. A Texas-style steakhouse, the Ranch is a farm to fork restaurant using locally sourced ingredients and providing a seasonal menu. This restaurant visit was part of a press tour I participated in with the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau. The meal was complementary and let me tell you, they pulled out all the stops including ordering every single dessert on the menu! While everyone had the chance to order their main course, we did have several shared appetizers and sweets. There’s a lot of food to get through so I’m just going to dive right in.
My visit to the ranch was provided complimentary as part of a press tour with the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau. All opinions remain my own.
We started with appetizers for the table including the Chef’s “Favorite 4” which consists of Queso Blanco, Branding Iron Rings, Mini Elk Tacos and Fried Green Tomatoes. The Queso Blanco is exactly what it sounds like, traditional Texas-style queso cheese with crispy tortilla chips. Delicious and creamy, I am not surprised this one is a favorite. The Branding Iron Rings come with adobo ketchup and chipotle ranch, both of which I couldn’t get enough of. I love my sauces and these gigantic onion rings were the perfect opportunity to keep dipping. The Mini Elk Tacos had spicy elk picadillo, caciotta cheese, grilled corn pico, cilantro crema and micro greens. They were a unique twist on a traditional appetizer. Finally, who can ignore Fried Green Tomatoes. I’ve only had these once before and it was when I made them myself. Their FGT are local beer battered and served with avocado green goddess and gremolata. TASTY!
After one too many recommendations, I ordered the Smoked Fried Chicken, a specialty at The Ranch. It’s served with warm roasted marble potato salad, cornbread and coleslaw. Not a potato salad fan, I asked to sub mine for the Buttermilk Chive Whipped Potatoes which they were out of at the moment and so I had the Cadi-Mac’N Chz instead. Much to my satisfaction, they were able to whip up a batch of those potatoes to deliver within moments that I received my meal! Talk about a carb overload.
Here’s what I have to say about the Smoked Fried Chicken. It’s definitely a unique dish and I don’t recommend taking it home because it’s not the same left over. The chicken is smoked and then fried for the best of both worlds. The flavors are super intense so if you’re not already a fan of smoky flavor, this might not be for you. I personally LOVE smokiness so this was right up my alley. Add the super crunch from the fried skin and you’ve got an almost perfect dish. They give you a ton so I wouldn’t be beneath splitting this with someone if the opportunity arose again. As for the sides, no words. Texas knows how to whip up bomb mac n’cheese. Creamy noodles were topped with buttery, crispy breadcrumbs. It was absolutely divine. And I’m really glad I lucked out on the mashed potatoes because they were probably the creamiest I’ve ever had.
Dessert was memorable for sure. When you have a wonderful hostess who insists on ordering the entire dessert menu, it’s obvious you’re in good hands. We all tried small bites of each treat for a well-rounded dessert course. And when I say that I tried a bite, I really mean a bite. I was about to burst by the time dessert came. For chocolate lovers, the Old Fashioned Chipotle Chocolate Layer Cake with Sweet House ice cream was decadent and rich with an interesting subtle spice to it but balanced thanks to the vanilla. Country Style Fried Pies gave a true taste of the south. The filling changes to use seasonal ingredients. Ours were apple which was fine with me. You know? I didn’t know what a fried pie was until this particular Texas visit. I hadn’t even heard of them before.
Next up, another southern favorite...the Route 66 Pecan Pie with praline caramel and a cinnamon crust, served with Sweet House ice cream. Pecan Pie will always be one of those desserts that I will only eat one bite of. It’s so sweet that I feel like I need to dive into a bag of potato chips immediately afterwards. That’s not to say it’s not tasty though! My fellow tour guests who grew up with pecan pie even loved it. The Haywire Homestead Cake is The Ranch’s take on carrot cake from local harvest made with molasses buttercream and spiced pecans. It’s a very rich version of carrot cake with several layers but it’s surprisingly balanced well. Carrot cake is one of those desserts that I’m warming up to the older I get and this particular number is at the top of my list.
Finally, last but very not least, my personal favorite: the Berry Bundt. It would make sense considering it’s the lightest dessert that we had, fruity and not overly sweet or rich. A classic bundt cake with mixed berries is topped with a lavender cream cheese glaze that is out of this world. The lavender gives the cake an interesting twist with a subtle floral flavor. It’s really quite tasty and this is most definitely the dessert I’d order when I return. Unless of course their seasonal dessert happened to be a cobbler or something else of interest.
Other than their bountiful lunch, dinner and dessert menus, The Ranch additionally has an impressive craft cocktail, wine, beer, and spirits menu. I had a Riesling with my meal along with several tall glasses of water and a delightful coffee with dessert. The service was friendly and accommodating. The atmosphere is casual yet sophisticated and welcoming. It’s the perfect spot to come with a group of friends, for an intimate date, or even with family. I’m very fortunate I had the opportunity to take part in the Irving press tour to enjoy this restaurant because I may not have found it myself!