November 14, 2011 was a sad day in the Glenbrook neighborhood of Stamford.
On that day poor Mi Ranchito had a car plow through its store front on Hope Street in the early morning. Although no one was hurt, we were never sure if they’d recover. For a while, we saw a sign that said, “Opening December.” But, then December came and we were bummed to see only wooden boards covering up the windows. Before we knew it though, we started to see glimpses of hope in the spring. The wooden boards were down, they installed new windows and they were working on the inside. We knew it would just be a matter of time before they opened again in sweet, sweet victory! Yes, long live Mi Ranchito!
We have to admit, we’ve felt a bit guilty because only a few months before the crash, we had written about our inconsistent experience at Mi Ranchito. So, whenever we passed by the store, we’d sigh, then drive on. Well, we knew what we had to do. We stopped back in for some grub, actually twice. First, we hit it up for a light lunch which soon turned to a heavy lunch, then we stopped by for din din.
We decided to go with the Peruvian side of things this time around. We started off with a fresh Ceviche Mixto. For just a few bucks, we got a huge portion of fresh fish, shrimp, clams, and calamari bathing in a bright and citrusy broth. Great starter.
Around this time we got our mango batido. Fresh juice with ice and milk. Does it get better and more refreshing than that? Plus, this wouldn’t be a meal if we didn’t order our customary side of platanos. Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten extra ripe, fried plantains. It’s one of the best things in the world.
As we snacked on these, our main dishes came out: Lomo Saltado. Think Peruvian stir-fry and you understand maybe 1% of why this dish is so awesome and has people talking…just look at the Foursquare checkins. The tomatoes add a nice acidity to the onions and strips of steak. The sauce in the stir fry is great, but even better was the sauce that gets soaked up by the crispy french fries that are on the bottom of the dish.
The Lomo Saltado by itself is great, but one thing that makes it better is the Aji sauce. If you’ve been to Valencia in Norwalk, you definitely know about Chef Michael Young’s puréed cold vegetable sauce. Well, believe it or not, Mi Ranchito’s Aji is pretty damn good too! Fresh tasting, herby, and a nice underlying heat hits the palate. This goodness should be doused on every single thing that is edible. Get this. Buy a GIANT tub for just $5. We took ours home and used it for our weekend breakfasts. Rice, beans, and over easy eggs with…yes, AJI! Oh. so. heavenly. We were told there was no mayo in the Aji, but this homespun recipe calls for it.
So, you should definitely give Mi Ranchito a try and visit. You’ll leave satisfied, hopefully with some Aji, and won’t pay too much money either. Like barely any money at all. Just park on the road, not through the front of their restaurant. Ya know, just in case.
Noms: 3.5 (up from 2.75, nice gain)
Mi Ranchito: Eat in, take out, or cash only delivery
Address: 262 Hope Street
Stamford, CT 06906
Phone: (203) 353-9252