My good Buddy Ed from Yuma has been mentioning Ranas.com in Spring Valley for several years. Having been assured that the food at Ranas are worthy of several "delici-yoso dances", and finally having some time off over this past Christmas weekend, the Missus and I made the drive to Spring Valley to find Ranas.com. We got off the 94 Freeway at Kenwood, took a left, and drove into the parking lot of a nearby strip mall. We didn't see a sign for Ranas, but the address looked correct.
We entered the very colorful dining area, and were immediately greeted by a very friendly Young Man who told us that we could have a seat anywhere.
The Young Man, actually, I should say Gentleman, since he was so gracious, named Jose(I'm hoping I remembered his name correctly), asked us if we'd been to Ranas before, to which we answered in the negative. At this point, he smiled and asked us if we'd like to try some samples of the specials of the day....are you kidding!!! Within a minute, four little paper cups arrived:
Man, this was really good stuff! Jose took the time to explain each dish, and though I'd come here to try the Pollo en salsa de Cacahuate, the Peanut Butter Chicken that Ed always mentions, I suddenly changed course......
As we were famished we started with the Huarache Azteca($5.50), a "sandal"(Huarache) sized thick tortilla, topped with beans, potato, and nopal:
We were pretty unimpressed with this popular antojito(appetizer), the whole thing was a soggy mess, there was too much beans, and the flavor of the potato was completely obscured. It was a far cry from the versions we had at the two El Comals.
But have no fear.....our entrees were on the way! We shared all the entrees, trading plates when one of us exclaimed "switch"! So what did we get?
The Chicken in Green Pumpkin Seed Mole(Pollo en Mole Verde de Pepita - $6.99):
Talk about good! This rich, but not heavy Mole, had a nice, complex flavor, with hints of nuttiness and a slight spicy-smokey finish. Moping up the sauce with the corn tortillas provided is a must. The chicken was surprisingly moist, but this was about the mole. The rice was okay, and the beans bland. But man that mole!!!!
The Pork in Tomatillo Sauce (Puerco en Tomatillo Salsa - $6.99):
Chunks of tender pork in a tangy, slightly spicy, tomatillo sauce. Wow, we obviously went two for two on entrees. This sauce/stew was studded with potatoes and nopal, and was quite refreshing in it's own way....really good stuff!
We finished almost all of our tortillas mopping up the sauces. One thing we noticed about the corn tortillas provided, they arrived warm and tender but got very hard as they cooled...all the more reason to scarf everything up ASAP.
The Missus desired something sweet to finish up the meal, so She ordered the Kahlua Plantanos:
So...one good turn deserves another, right? So there we were three days later...at guess where? Yep, and Jose greeted us with a smile, and a warm, "welcome back".
And of course those wonderful samples........of today's specials:
So this time, we ordered the Entomatado Pork (Pork in a spicy tomato sauce - $6.99):
Another winner, a nice, medium spicy, pork dish full of flavor. The pork was spoon tender, without being falling apart soft. Today, the beans had much more flavor as well. The Missus loved this.
The Cochinita Pibil($6.99) the classic slow roasted Yucatan Pork Dish:
This version was more stew-like and creamy than versions of this dish I've had before. Again rich, without being heavy is the signature here, and a nice slightly sweet finish to boot! Talk about finish, that's what we did to our corn tortillas. This was my favorite on this visit.
Instead of an appetizer or dessert, I finally ordered the Peanut Butter Chicken (Pollo en salsa de Cacahuate - $6.99), which Ed from Yuma always mentions:
During our visit, Jose, who, it turns out is the Owner's son(it's a real Mom and Pop restaurant), explained that these were the dishes that he grew up eating. Which explains why the dishes were so good, like all good home cooking, the "specials" at Ranas had that unique ingredient, a combination of love, care, and pride, which makes everything taste so much better. The service we had at Ranas reflects that as well. As you can tell...we'll be back! Take some time away from the tacos and enchiladas, and check out those specials.
9683 Campo Rd Ste A
Spring Valley, CA 91977
Thanks for the recommendation Ed! We finally made it...and it was well worth it.....