Although it is merely a little storefront with a dozen or so tables, Mi Rancho packs a good deal of Mexican flavor and color into its four, bright-orange walls decorated with an abundance of festive piñatas and sombreros.
Situated on the main street of the Sussex County seat, Mi Rancho’s all-day hours allow business people to enjoy authentic Mexican fare, as well as evening visitors coming to enjoy a movie or live show across the street at the nicely renovated Newton Theatre. (Upcoming acts include Timothy B. Schmit, Carl Palmer and The Oak Ridge Boys.)
An extensive menu features enticing color photographs of every dish. The quesadillas, burritos and tacos are brimming with the expected range of flavors, including carne asada, pollo, chorizo and carnitas, as well as a vegetarian option. But it is the oversized platters and combos that are the most interesting and are big enough to feed two without breaking the budget.
After a complimentary plate of chips with three salsas, we shared a huge bowl of seafood ceviche, a refreshing mix of baby shrimp, mussels and squid, with three large shrimp hanging from the rim. Served over freshly shredded lettuce, the citrus-y mix was like a seafood salad, so it seemed a little odd to find three Ritz crackers on the liner plate. Our leftover tortilla chips made for a better accompaniment.
The carne asada con entomatadas combined a saucy chicken wrap with two ultra-thin, well-done steaks that looked like they might be tough, but were actually juicy and tender.
The two crispy brown tilapia fillets paired with three plump shrimp over wedges of fresh avocado and tomato was another interesting, oversized and satisfying combination. All dishes are served with yellow rice and flavor-packed refried beans.
Even though we were plenty full, the tres leche cake looked too good to pass up, so we were surprised when our friendly waitress tried to talk us out of it, saying it was too sweet. Not dissuaded, we dug into the moist whipped cream-topped cake in a pool of sweet vanilla sauce and found it just right after all the savory spice.
Mi Rancho Mexican Grill, 195 Spring Street, Newton, 973-300-0605, miranchomexicangrillnj.com. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday 10 am until 10 pm.Click here to leave a comment