BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
El Ranchito del Agave
476 9th Avenue
As I’ve said before, and can’t stop talking about, the strip of 9th Avenue that lies in the shadow of Port Authority is a surprising gold mine of restaurants and food purveyors alike. Between 36th and 37th streets lies El Ranchito del Agave. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. A hand written sign displaying key menu items for the day and advertising the 8 dollar all-you-can-eat buffet leads you to a scantly decorated sandwich counter. Walking down a narrow hallway to the side brings you to a homey dining room with bright murals of Mexico lining the walls.
Although I’ve only had the buffet at El Ranchito del Agave, a rotating selection of home style treats like mole poblano, fried fish, enchiladas, stewed pork, and the fluffiest rice I have ever eaten, I can only imagine that their made-to-order selection is even better.
It’s no frills atmosphere and terra cotta colored tile flooring alongside the nothing fancy, but just good food is comforting and a great escape from the fast paced and crazy city outside. It is never busy at El Ranchito (they do most of their business via take out), but the few old Mexican men hunched over their plates in the corners of the room tell me that this place is the real deal.