Ranch 616 sits tucked on the corner of Nueces and 7th Street, just a block from West 6th, one of Austin’s busiest bar districts. If its quirky and eclectic street front doesn’t grab your attention, the laughter of patrons and aromas of home-style cooking emanating from the patio likely will.
We walked into the dining room and were immediately greeted by a host who was happy to sit us inside, even without a reservation. A mounted bison head, signed photos of celebrities, and other memorabilia scatter the walls, creating a ranch-house / old-school diner atmosphere.
We were told to come hungry to Ranch 616, so we showed up eager to dive into the menu. We started with a quesadilla of the day appetizer, garnished with chopped lettuce, onion, and pico de gallo. The crunchy tortilla shell gives way to a thick layer of cheese, and the filling of the day — in this case fantastic shredded chicken. Topping off our quesadillas was an amazing salsa verde, though it may differ based on the filling of the day.
Among the entrees is Pork Tenderloin 616: honey-glazed pork medallions with a creamy bed of roasted poblano mashers and a topping of mushrooms, corn, and pico. Everything melds together so well, each flavor complementing the next without overpowering it. The pork retains so much flavor; this dish honestly could have come from a high-end restaurant costing $30+.
Chicken-fried beef shoulder tenderloin medallions come on a bed of bacon and ranch cheesy mashed potatoes along with three garlic-seared tiger shrimp and sauteed green beans. The breading on the beef is thick and brightly seasoned; the shrimp are seared with just the right amount of garlic. I will certainly be ordering this dish again.
Every once in a while, you’ll find a restaurant that seems to check all the boxes. That’s Ranch 616 with its friendly atmosphere, delicious and unique food combinations, great drinks, and location near one of the most popular downtown destinations of Austin.