Wandering outside the Bubble – The Ranch

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Megan O’Brien, Contributing Writer

As a native Texan, I have too often found myself confronted by old stereotypes. No, I don’t live on a ranch. No, I don’t ride a horse to school. No, I don’t wear a cowboy hat every day.

Megan O'Brien takes The Ranch' motto, "It's done, stick a fork in it," a bit too seriously. –Photo by Tami O'BrienI believe all these negations have left some people wondering what it means to be a Texan – especially nowadays. Let me start by saying that food holds a supremely important role for all Texans.

The Ranch at Las Colinas is a restaurant rooted in genuine Texas tradition. On its website, it boasts that it is a rich haven for both ranch hand and businessman. And I heartily agree.

Primarily decorated with dark wood and metal roofing, the building alone qualifies for the name “The Ranch.” A waterfall lined with metal cacti provides an apt centerpiece, contributing to the West Texas ambiance. In addition, the waiters don’t hesitate to use the word “y’all” when they greet you, which I find comforting (don’t worry, northerners, it isn’t excessive). Everything feels high-end yet relaxed, and the friendly atmosphere in this cozy establishment makes for a wonderful evening dining opportunity.

Be sure to come hungry – the portions are rather significant. Each dish is a delicate interpretation of Texas barbecue and comfort food, proudly crafted from fresh ingredients from local Texas farmers and ranchers.

Consequently, I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to eat. I had finished half of my margarita before I was able to close my drooling chops and order.

The tortilla soup is a creamy starter, good for a cold day. Also, the house salad is uniquely Texan, tossed with spiced pecans and homemade Texas tarragon vinaigrette.

As for the main dishes, the variety and quality of meat is astounding. The grilled chipotle meatloaf successfully combined beef and sausage with smoked tomato-poblano salsa. The black snapper, coated in a peppered farm honey reduction, was complemented by “carrot smash” – basically, carrots in the form of mashed potatoes. Sounds strange, but The Ranch will certainly convince you to eat your vegetables willingly. If only you could ask for seconds…

There were leftovers. If you’re not that hungry, you could get away with ordering a starter and sharing a flatbread pizza with pig and pickled pear.

Live music is also frequent at The Ranch at Las Colinas. Bands usually play on the patio, a.k.a. the smoking section.

If you’re from out of state, you must venture over to The Ranch at Las Colinas as soon as possible or your Texas experience at the University of Dallas is not complete. If you’re from Texas, go to experience all your favorite dishes recreated in a local and fresh way. The Ranch at Las Colinas is located at 857 W. John Carpenter Fwy in Las Colinas, Texas 75039.

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