Monday, September 4, 2017

Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House

As I’ve said before, I love prime rib. One of the best places in town I’ve had it is Lawry’s, but that’s all the way down near the Strip. Another of our favorite houses of beef is a great deal closer to home: Bob Taylor’s Original Ranch House. They’ve been around since 1955, and I’ve read that they are the oldest steak house in Las Vegas.

When you first pull into their parking lot, the Ranch House totally lives up to its name: it was clearly a ranch house once upon a time. One of our favorite things about it, besides the food, is that a number of cats seem to live on the property. They really only seem to come out at night, but when we’re there after dark, we see a lot of them.

It’s a solid, predictable, old-school place, which is one reason we like it. For example, the specials are always the same: a bacon-wrapped filet served Oscar-style, and a 22 oz. ribeye. Even though we’ve seen the same specials every time we’ve been there, we saw one of the hostesses writing them on the board when we arrived the other night, as if it was something brand new.

As the hostess took us from the entrance to the dining room, we passed the kitchen, so I snapped a photo of the steaks on the grill.

Generally, my rule of thumb, dress-code-wise, is that if I’m going to be paying more than $20 per person for a meal, I wear a shirt that buttons. However, the Ranch House atmosphere is so casual, I relax that rule for them and feel fine going wearing a T-shirt and jeans. The dining room can be pretty busy and crowded at peak times, so we avoid those times. It’s got a very rustic feel, again living up to the ranch house name. All the decorations are either cowboy stuff or Western movie posters.

While we generally have great experiences here, our last visit had a few hiccups. First, we were seated in a section where the assigned server had not yet arrived for work, so we had to wait almost 10 minutes before someone came to take our drinks order. However, once he arrived, the service was fine, and we didn’t blame him for the hostess’s mistake.

No photos of our drinks this time around; I hadn’t been feeling well earlier that day, and was driving, so I just drank soda. My wife had a couple of glasses of wine.

As usual, the first thing to arrive at our table was the cheesy garlic toast. Laden with butter, garlic and cheese, this is by no means any part of a healthy diet plate. (Which, if you’re looking for that, maybe a steak house isn’t the best place.) I was so looking forward to every part of my meal that evening, I took a few bites before I remembered I wanted to take photos.

Next came the soup course. (We both ordered the clam chowder instead of salads. What are we, rabbits?) At our server’s suggestion, we added some Tabasco sauce to our soup.

As we were eating our soup, we encountered the second hiccup of the evening: we saw a cockroach walking along the wall. I don’t want to make it sound like this is some sort of vermin-infested dive. It’s an old, old building and it’s surrounded by a sizable desert lot. We only saw the one bug, and that’s the first time we’ve ever seen anything like that there. So we asked to be moved to another table, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker for us.

After the soup, and the move to a new table, we received our entrees. My wife had ordered the 8 oz. filet.

As you might expect, I ordered the 12 oz. prime rib. 

As you can see from the photos, we both ordered the loaded baked potatoes.

While these may seem like pretty by-the-numbers meals, that’s partly why we go there. They aren’t serving bold new adventures in cuisine: they are making steaks and making them well. And, honestly, their menu is much more varied now than it used to be. The first time we went, the options were literally a steak, a chicken breast, with a potato on the side, either baked, twice-baked, or mashed. And that was it. Now they serve pasta, seafood, a wide variety of appetizers (a particular favorite are the sautéed chicken livers), lamb, and all sorts of other dishes.

One of the reasons I love the prime rib at the Ranch House is that it is smoked. That smoky flavor comes across very nicely, without being overwhelming. 

As a way of making up for what our server referred to as “the Incident,” they offered to buy us desserts. I’ve never had a bad dessert there, to my knowledge. Their chocolate cake is really good but also huge. Since I had just finished a huge chunk of beef, and most of my potato, my wife’s suggestion of splitting that cake felt like too much for me. Another favorite dessert there is the tiramisu, and that’s what I was thinking about going for. (I know what you are thinking, but it’s lighter than the chocolate cake, which generates its own gravity.)

However, when the server mentioned apple cobbler, that felt like a much better choice for me that evening. Of course, I got it with ice cream, because what am I, a supermodel? It was just the right size, and tasted delicious.

My wife ordered the strawberry cheesecake, and they certainly didn’t skimp on the strawberries.

Despite the problems, we ended up leaving full and happy, and I’m already looking forward to our next visit. Between this and Lawry’s, it’s hard to choose a favorite prime rib restaurant. On the one hand, Lawry’s has the martini with olives stuffed with meat and horseradish, they have the whipped cream horseradish, and their prime rib is maybe a little more tender. On the other hand, the Ranch House has the smoked prime rib, which is more flavorful. Also, Lawry’s is like a 30-45 minute drive, and more expensive. The Ranch House is 10-15 minutes away, and cheaper. So Lawry’s will probably remain our choice for really special celebrations, and the Ranch House will be our choice for when we just want a nice evening out without too much hassle.

This week’s Funko Pop! of the Week is Batgirl, from the 1966 Batman TV series.

I love that TV show; it’s what made me a Batman fan. It’s also what made me a Batgirl fan, if I’m honest. I’m sure when I get to those episodes as I rewatch the series on blu-ray, I will be disappointed at how they treat a female character. But my memories have made a lifelong fan.

This Pop! is particularly adorable, but one of my favorite features is that it sparkles. This is definitely a figure that needs to be displayed out of the box!

That’s it for this week. See you next week!

1 comment:

  1. The toast and dessert look like reason alone to go there, let alone the entrees! yum!