By Caitlyn Letterii and Patrick Hood
Located on the corner of Hughes and 187th, this secluded Mexican joint is often-overlooked by Fordham students in favor of flashier, more well-known establishments like Estrellita Poblana III on Arthur Ave.
PH: I must admit from the beginning that I have frequented this restaurant on more than one occasion, so please excuse me of any bias.
CL: On the other hand, I can offer a fresh perspective. It soon became apparent that I would have to play the skeptic. When we first walked I remarked to myself, “Gosh, this is a small restaurant!”
PH: I can’t argue with you there Caitlyn. Groups larger than four or five people should pass on dining in Rancho Estrella in favor of their delivery due to the cramped, but in my opinion authentic, atmosphere. According to the menu, delivery is free and can be done over phone, the internet or apparently by faxing in an order.
CL: I’m pleased to see such innovation in the delivery industry.
PH: As far as ambience goes, I enjoyed the refreshing religious wall art, which really fell in line with Fordham’s Jesuit values and principles.
CL: Cura Personalis has always been my personal favorite.
PH: Same here girlfriend!
CL: The service was very fast, probably due to us being the only patrons in the restaurant at the time, and I was pleased to receive complimentary chips and salsa.
PH: The chips, I will admit, were not the best I’ve had, but the salsa, which was coquettishly sweet, dazzled my tastebuds.
CL: We decided to start off with the true litmus test of any Mexican establishment: the guacamole. We’re bold and beautiful, so we said to heck with it and ordered the spicy version.
PH: The presentation was stunning. Would you say that’s fair, Caitlyn?
CL: I’d say that is more than fair. Though I was disappointed as a native New Yorker that there were not any peas in the guacamole.
PH: I was more than fine with the omission of peas.
CL: For the main course I went with a classic veggie burrito, which I was surprised to find was so stuffed to the brim that I had to eat it with a fork and knife. Talk about bang for your buck! The filling was very tasty, but from time to time the flour tortilla was a bit overpowering. Also I was overjoyed to find peas in the burrito. Apparently they had been saving them for the big show.
PH: Since I was at Rancho Estrella on official review business, I thought it was only fair to order something I’ve never had before. I went with soft-shell tacos and for filling I decided on barbacoa (spiced beef), lengua (cow tongue) and oreja (pig’s ear). As a native Texan I know my tacos, and am a bit of an aficionado when it comes to barbacoa and lengua. I am glad to say that Rancho Estrella knocked them both out of the park. I never had ear before, and I never will again.
CL: I still cannot believe you ate any of that. As a vegetarian, and a woman, I was offended. The ear just looked like chunks of cartilage in a tortilla.
PH: It basically was! While it did technically taste good, I just could not get over the texture of chewing cartilage and gave up after a few bites. So Caitlyn?
CL: Yes Patrick?
PH: I think you know what time it is: let’s give them our Sweet ‘n’ Sour Ratings! Although the oreja was a misstep, I don’t think the restaurant should take the blame. I ordered pig’s ear, and I got pig’s ear. It was a lesson in humility and pig anatomy. Beyond that, for the price the food was filling, the guac’ tasty and I left a satisfied customer. That’s why I’m giving Rancho Estrella a Sweet Rating of four out of five stars.
CL: You just read my mind! Because I too am giving them a Sweet Rating of four out of five stars. And we never agree! The guacamole was presented beautifully and had an equally great taste (despite the lack of peas). The burrito was not the greatest but it was still pretty good. I came starving and left decadently full and with a new perspective on life itself.
You should try the guacamole, the rice and beans, the barbacoa taco, and the lengua taco if you’re feeling adventurous. You should pass on the oreja taco, unless you like chewing cartilage. We’re not ones to judge.
Address: 621 E 187 Street, Bronx, NY (On the corner of Hughes and 187)
Phone number: 347-271-6978
Fax number: 347-269-8879
Also available for order on Grubhub and Seamless
Hours: Everyday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.