500 Tacos: Ramos Restaurant #3

An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Ramos Restaurant #3
14611 Burnet Road, Austin, (map), 512-246-0727
Hours: 7am-9pm Mon-Thu; 7am-10pm Fri; 8am-9pm Sat; 8am-3pm Sun
Also at: 710 Chestnut St., Bastrop (map); 116 E. Parsons St., Manor (map)
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 11.18.15
With a pool hall next door, it makes sense for Ramos Restaurant to sell breakfast all day. Because it always feels like the morning after ... somewhere. The hangover subsidy notwithstanding, Ramos is a full-menu Tex-Mex cafe with queso, nachos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, rellenos and specialties like stuffed avocados and pork adobada. And tacos, of course, for which Ramos makes its own corn and flour tortillas.
The taco: Migas
Breakfast tacos start at just $1.69 here, but it’s hard to pass up a $2 migas taco with freshly fried, handmade corn tortilla chips. Those chips play backup to eggs scrambled hard with onions, tomatoes and a torrid handful of chopped jalapeño. It’s held together with a moat of congealing processed queso and wrapped in a fresh, dusty flour tortilla. ($2.09)
 Tortillas: Ramos is that rare breed of Mexican cafe that makes its own tortillas, both corn and flour. Each has the right texture — the corn grainy and flexible, the flour with a compressed springiness and the prospect of powderpuff dust if you slapped two of them together. Neither tastes as good as it looks, overtoasted on a grill with oil past its prime.
 Fajitas: There are other tacos on the menu: pastor, barbacoa, carne guisada. But there’s something about dim lights and beer signs that make me leery of those in the middle of the afternoon. Fajitas are a safety taco, grilled to order on a sizzling skillet with bell peppers and onions, with rice, beans, hot tortillas and a cold condiment plate on the side for DIY tacos built on your schedule. The cold plate at Ramos is fine, with shredded colby-jack, fresh pico, cool sour cream, iceberg lettuce and guacamole with bright lime and cilantro. The rice is standard-issue Tex-Mex or less, but the charro beans have bacon to back them up. This time, though, the skillet let me down, with tired chicken tenders and dried-out beef that tasted like teriyaki. And barely enough of either meat to support the $12 pricetag.
 Salsa: Ramos is a free chips-and-sauce zone, with chips from a bag and a salsa fresca with slow heat and lots of cilantro. There’s also a bowl of jalapeño ranch to mix things up, the same way they do over at Chuy’s.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)