Huevos Rancheros, the traditional Mexican breakfast dish, is a menu staple at almost every drive-thru taco shop and Mexican eatery in the Valley. It's the perfect cure for a hangover and includes all five important elements of a hearty breakfast -- eggs, tortillas, beans, rice, and cheese.
Instead of pitting the standard Mexican food joints against each other, we decided to see how two of the Valley's upscale hot spots fare with the traditional dish.
Can the Rokerij's spicy green green sauce prevail over Gallo Blanco's cheese-packed plate?
In One Corner: Gallo Blanco 401 W. Clarendon Ave. Phoenix
The Set Up: The charming Gallo Blanco Cafe is located on the ground floor of the ultra hip Clarendon Hotel. The bright, sleek interior has the expected modern touches -- lacquered wood tables with matching chairs, splashes of bright green and orange, local art work, and chalkboard specials -- and the comfy, wrap around patio is perfect for a spring lunch or evening cocktails. The menu features Chef Doug Robson's reasonably priced Mexico CIty style creations that utilize some of the best locally sourced ingredients around.
The Good: Blanco puts a slightly different spin on the traditional dish. Instead of a plain ol' lightly fried tortilla, Blanco tosses fried eggs on top of two small cheese quesadillas made with Blanco's house made tortillas and tangy queso oaxaco. The huevos then get a healthy dose of warm house made salsa and a dusting of freshly chopped cilantro. The beans (the best part of the dish) were light, creamy, and the perfect texture to go with the rest of the dish.
The bad: Unfortunately, the dish arrived at the table ice cold -- the cheese on the little quesadillas wasn't even the slightest bit meltly. We could have probably looked past that if there was some sort of awesome flavors on the plate but the dish was bland, bland, bland. No heat, no flavor, no bueno.
In The Other Corner: Rokerij 6335 N. 16th Street Phoenix
The Set Up: The Rokerij (Dutch for smokehouse) has made its home in a tiny renovated stone building off 16th Street just down the road from its older sibling, Dick's Hideway and right next door to the newly resurrected Richardson's. Inside is dark and cozy with big comfy booths, a copper topped bar, and cushy barstools that make it extremely hard to pass when the friendly bartender asks you if you'd like one more Bloody Mary.
The Good: Since the Rokerij has a open kitchen and a large staff, your food will likely never arrive cold. Our plate was piping hot and smelled amazing. The over-medium eggs were perfectly cooked, the green chili was flavorful and packed in a ton of slow burning heat, the soft tortilla was warm, the potatoes had just the right amount of char, and the beans -- omg, the beans were to-die-for. We've have never had beans that has so much flavor!
The Bad: There is only one thing wrong with this dish -- we had to order an extra tortilla. The one small tortilla really wasn't enough to mop up all the amazing food on the big metal plate.
The Final Verdict: The obvious winner is the Rokerij's plate of spicy green sauce topped eggs and their amazingly flavorful beans. Gallo Blanco's dish fell short on flavor and compared to the rest of the good stuff that comes out of that kitchen (their tacos are some of the best in town) their plate of huevos rancheros was a pretty big disappointment. Sorry Gallo, we're going to stick with your tacos from here on out. Rokerij -- you'll be seeing us again soon for brunch!