By: Bob Gourley
There are so many twists on Mexican food around that just about anyone can get on the bandwagon. Ricardo’s has been feeding locals since 1979. Their huge menu is dotted with traditional favorites, plus some unique items to keep everyone coming back.
The bright, colorful atmosphere is punctuated by the very helpful and friendly staff. Unlike some places, everyone associated with the restaurant seems generally happy to serve their guests.
On the traditional side is fresh guacamole made from Hass avocados, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chilies and spices. Two sizes are available.
Chile Con Queso arrives in a cast iron skillet filled with melted cheeses plus roasted chilies and spices. Lobster Flautas are an exciting new item. Succulent shellfish is grilled with pico de gallo and cheeses and then wrapped in a flour tortilla that is then fried and served with chipotle ranch dressing.
How about a sampler platter for the whole table that includes nachos, beef taquitos, quesadillas, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, guacamole, sour cream and salsa for just $17.95?
A meeting of traditional and contemporary styles merges with their list of fajitas. Again the sizzling skillet arrives with meat choices sitting on top of a huge mound of onions, peppers, mushrooms and vegetables garnished with a fresh tomato and cilantro. Rice, beans, guacamole and all of the trimmings are included.
Many love to indulge with enchiladas and they won’t be disappointed. Enchiladas de Verduras ($13.95) are a healthful mix of seasoned, chopped vegetables in a corn tortilla topped with mild cheese sauce.
Enchiladas del Mar is filled with bounties of the sea including shrimp, halibut and snapper with select vegetables and seasonings. Perennial favorite Enchiladas Suizas are a highlight with chicken machaca and sour cream topped with tomatillo-chipotle sauce and melted cheese.
Of course you can find combinations with just about every variation you can think of. Even if it isn’t mentioned, just ask and I’m sure they can put it together for you.
Tortas, authentic Mexican sandwiches, are turning up on many menus and Ricardo’s offers a couple including BBQ pork with slow-roasted carnitas served with a tangy BBQ sauce, French fries and a green salad.
Since they are open 24 hours a day, breakfast is listed and can be ordered anytime. A rousing Huevos Rancheros is constructed with two fried eggs sitting on top of a soft corn tortilla that is then spread with refried beans plus ranchera sauce and melted cheese. You can also get eggs and their signature chorizo.
A perpetual lunchtime feast is available daily from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm. A buffet filled with classics is a great way to spend the middle of the day.
On a recent visit there were chimichangas, enchiladas, burritos, a taco bar and salads all for just $12.95. A fajitas buffet is offered on the weekends.
An intriguing selection of tequilas is part of the experience. Silver offerings include Don Julio, Gran Centenario, Jose Cuervo and more.
It is good to see that a long-time family-owned establishment is still thriving after so many years. Ricardo’s, Open 24 hours. 4930 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas. (702) 227-9100. www.ricardosoflasvegas.com