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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Liberty (MO): Inexpensive, Quality Mexican Fare

Rancho Grande Cantina
921 W Liberty Dr
LibertyMO 64068
(816) 792-4844
$ - All entrees below $15

Rancho Grande in Liberty was a staple for me during my first four months in Kansas City. Yes, of course it is Americanized Mexican, but we are in America after all. If you have a craving for inexpensive, quality food, this is the place.

We have never had issues with the service. Even though we seem to get a different server every week, we have gotten to know a few and they are always prompt and friendly. There is usually a short wait, particularly on Friday and Saturday night, but rarely have we had to wait more than 20 minutes. It is a bit busy, noisy, confusing, and hectic, but the noise adds to the atmosphere.

Once seated, you immediately receive a basket of fresh made chips and salsa (you have to ask for the "hot" version) and your server arrives shortly thereafter. The margaritas are excellent, at $5 per glass or $20 for a pitcher ($12 for a small), coming frozen or on the rocks. They are potent, so bring a designated driver if you plan to have more than one!

The guacamole is excellent and consistent, although I have to add a little salt each time and the portions seem to get smaller all the time, but still worth the price ($4.95). The chili con queso is also very good, but a full order is too big for two of us, so we usually get a small order. Quesadillas are very good and come with all the trimmings, but a little overpriced for a bit of cheese and tortillas.

Rancho Grande makes the second best restaurant tacos I have had in the U.S.. The shells are not pre-made, they are very fresh and deep fried for every order. You can only get ground beef with the hard shells and they come with lettuce and cheese. I usually save a little guacamole for my tacos or add some of my wife's pico di gallo to spice them up, but they are good alone. You can order a side of guacamole for less than $2, so go that route if you do not order an appetizer.

The enchiladas are excellent, smothered in red sauce and cheddar cheese. I usually order two, one shredded beef and one cheese and onion. Like everything else, the portions are large and the enchiladas tasty. 

The chimichangas are HUGE, so come hungry and everything (except ala carte) comes with rice and beans, which are also tasty. The fajitas are also excellent and filling, coming in beef, chicken, or shrimp. Wednesday's are "fajita night" and are a real value at $8.95, so if you like fajitas, Wednesday is your night!

The only disappointments I have had are the carnitas tacos. Carnitas do not come in a plate with accompaniments and tortillas like most places, they only come pre-wrapped in a tortilla (for a good reason). They are skimpy on the meat and the pork looks like it is boiled, not "slow-roasted" as is the case in most places. Pass on the carnitas!

In all, Rancho Grande in Liberty is an excellent choice for quality American-Mexican food with large portions at a reasonable price. Enjoy! 

CombatCritic gives Rancho Grande Cantina in Liberty 7 out of 10 BOMBS ... More Bombs Are Better!

Rancho Grande Cantina on Urbanspoon

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