Dinner at The The Ranch House

Jan. 22, 2013

I guess I should have taken a clue about this place from my first phone call; the person who answered the phone was very rude. I asked her to leave a message for the owner and she said she did not know where he is and would not know how to find him, how do you say cold and unhelpful? When I spoke with the owner David, he made up for my first bad impression by telling me to come on in, he would let me try what ever I wanted and pair wines with dinner my items. When I arrived the staff was very aloof, I asked if they knew about my tasting and could I say hi to the owner David. David was nowhere to be found, and the staff seemed unimpressed with my showing up. I say this because usually staff and owner try and put their best forward when someone is writing a review about your place…usually!

My waitress was cordial, but any detailed questions she referred to The Ranch House’s sommelier Michael. Michael was very knowledgeable, having worked there for 32 years. To my surprise my wine pairing was not included, as well as I had very limited food tasting. So, no David, and no preplanned food and wine pairing. As I have discussed before it is very hard for me to taste food without getting all the nuances from a great glass of wine. I did manage to order 3 wines, that I had to pay for, and the third wine Michael said he would never pair that one with my salmon, wow, how do you say opinionated.

There is big history here, but it seemed like trying to get any information about it was like pulling teeth. I did manage to find out that the previous owner put the The Ranch House in their will to the current owner David, who started many years ago their as a busboy. Maybe because most of the staff has worked here for so many years they are just bored, and mask their boredom with their snobby, lackadaisical attitude.

Here’s what I tried:

Snow Crab Cakes – Flaked snow crabmeat, minced vegetables & mushrooms traditionally accented with a touch of chili & lemon, lightly breaded and baked – lime zest cream.
Shrimp Remoulade – Large prawns served chilled with a sauce made of green onions, celery, cilantro, Dijon mustard and olive oil.
Salmon Special
Ribs Special

The only food that I can really comment on her was their wild rack of boar. This was beyond great. If you combined baby back ribs with rack of lamb this is what it would taste like, but with no BBQ sauce, very lively, and very tasty. I asked for the desert to go, and asked my wait person to separate the ice cream out of the equation, when I got back to my hotel there was no desert just melted ice cream, so much for listening. My recommendation would be, I would only come back here for this dish, and would be very prepared that the only warmth you would get out of this place was from the heat lamps. Really no body ever said good-bye to me when I was leaving, this was by far the loneliest dinner I have ever had.

The Ranch House
102 Besant Rd
Ojai, CA 93023
(805) 646-2360


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