eGOSHEN—Everything in the menu shouts ‘Homemade Ole!’ at El Rancho restaurant in Goshen. Owner Terri Hernandez says every dish is made from scratch from the preparation of the meat in each dish to the various flavored waters available.
Once you taste the homemade molé on the enchiladas poblano, a traditional Mexican dish, you’ll keep coming back. The savory dish arrives as a traditional soft corn tortilla stuffed with chicken, covered with a chocolate non-sweet molé, a side of beans in a crisp shell, and rice. The deliciously spiced chicken is presented with a layer of avocado slices, onion and fresh radish.
Molé has its legendary beginnings in the Mexican state of Puebla, ancestral home of the Hernandez family, and has been called the national dish of Mexico. The sauce is prominent during celebrations around Cinco de Mayo, especially in Puebla. The restaurant serves red, green, and chocolate mole on their dishes.
Hernandez says customers come for the tacos and tortas (Mexican sandwiches) that other restaurants don’t serve. Nothing is frozen. “We stand out because we have special tacos that people don’t have in other restaurants.”
The homemade huaraches—large, thick, homemade tortillas topped with a choice of meat, refried beans, onions, lettuce, and fresh cheese—are also popular. They even make their own cheese?
He Earned It
Hernandez, 21, started his restaurant the old-fashioned way—he earned it. He saved his earnings from working at jobs since he was 14. Before he opened his own place, he also learned about the business from the ground up as a busboy, waiter, cook, and dishwasher. His own restaurant is a new experience which he relishes.
“I’m still learning,” he said.
Although he is now the top guy, Hernandez pitches in wherever help is needed. “I do everything here. If my cook needs help, I’ll help him. If the waiter needs help, I help the waiter or waitress. I’m everywhere.”
Born and raised in Goshen, Hernandez says the town is ready for an authentic Mexican restaurant. “We have real Mexican food.” For customers not familiar with what is authentic Mexican food, Hernandez says “It’s all about the flavor.” His restaurant uses traditional spices and seasonings in every dish.
He wants a family atmosphere. The dining area is spotless and wrinkle-free red cotton tablecloths grace tables. Traditional Mexican music—not too loud—adds to the South-of-the-Border feel. “We are trying to make [the restaurant] as a family gathering–to relax, have some fun, and enjoy the food.”
Hernandez hopes to acquire a beer and wine permit to serve sangria and Mexican drinks, such as Micheladas, a cold beer with salt and lime juice.
Although traditional Mexican fare is their specialty, El Rancho offers steak, shrimp, and other American fare. “We just want to make customers happy and if they are happy, we are happy.”
El Rancho opened in mid-April. The restaurant can seat 36 people comfortably. The long counter serves take-out customers. They also deliver.
The restaurant serves several kinds of spiced water, which is also homemade. Hernandez says the hibiscus water, besides tasting refreshing, is good for diabetes. The agua de tamarindo is made from the pod-like fruit of the Tamarind tree.
Customers are beginning to find the place on New Street. Chris H. from Middletown said on Yelp, “Great food and very reasonable prices! Nice, small place to get Mexican food. They will tweak the dish to your taste and it’s all fresh. Once word gets out about this place you’ll have to wait for a table. Worth the drive from anywhere!”
For traditional, homemade Mexican cooking, a stop at El Rancho would please any palate–on Cinco de Mayo or any other day of the year.
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