In the past few months, ranch — the creamy, salty, quintessentially American dressing — became oddly controversial after one writer noticed trendy restaurants serving gourmet versions of it (#RanchGate). Whether you hate or love the lowbrow condiment, these eight restaurants are upgrading ranch in seriously delicious ways across the U.S.
The Emmy: Emmy Squared (Brooklyn)
Detroit-style pizza specialist Emmy Squared (and its sister restaurant, Emily) have proven time and time again that the white pizza can stand up to its red counterpart. The signature pizza — called “The Emmy” — on the Emmy Squared menu is the proof (pictured at top). It’s not just cheese on cheese; it’s mozzarella on ranch dressing on banana peppers on onions. A tangy, gooey treat to eat — and also pretty nice to 'gram.
364 Grand St., Brooklyn; 718-360-4535
Courtesy of Little Donkey
Pickle brine fried chicken sandwich: Little Donkey (Boston)
Boston-based restaurateurs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette have created some of the city’s greatest hits. In particular, we can’t stop thinking about the chicken sandwich from their latest spot, a globally influenced tapas place called Little Donkey. The craveable dish features chicken that's been fried in pickle brine, slathered in an intensely creamy avocado ranch dressing and topped with crisp green papaya slaw and jalapeños — all sandwiched in between a Martin's potato roll (aka the king of buns). Heavy? Yes. Delicious? Also, yes.
505 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-945-1008
Lamb kebab with ranch labneh: Yalla (Atlanta)
The popular stand at Atlanta’s Krog Street Market makes Middle Eastern fare with contemporary twists — like its version of labneh, a thick, strained yogurt sauce that the restaurant mixes in with ranch seasonings for a slick, savory accompaniment to its lamb kebab sandwich. Fried and puréed eggplant and bright, acidic Israeli salad round out the stellar, colorful bite.
99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta; 404-506-9999
Chicken milanesa: Trois Familia (Los Angeles)
You might think you know what chicken milanesa is supposed to taste like — that is, until you have the pungent, spicy, yet cooling version from the daytime gem that is Trois Familia. The secret weapon is, of course, the ranch dressing, which gets spiked with Maggi, an umami-packed seasoning from India that pairs genially with any and all breaded and fried creations.
3510 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-725-7800
Courtesy of Superiority Burger
Tahini ranch romaine salad: Superiority Burger (New York)
A romaine salad with ranch dressing doesn’t sound that exciting; but in the hands of Superiority Burger, New York’s hottest veggie-centric restaurant, it becomes one of the most deliciously executed plates of greens you’ll find in the city. The ranch dressing is — in a stroke of genius — made with tahini, for extra zing (it’s also vegan!), then poured over romaine, avocado and pickled cauliflower florets. We would venture to say that we might just prefer the tahini version of ranch over the original.
430 E. 9th St., New York; 212-256-1192
Turkey leg confit: Convivial (Washington, DC)
Chicken salad is probably one of the most daunting dishes to tackle for creamy condiment haters. That’s not the case when eating the turkey leg confit at Convivial — the restaurant’s take on the American, mayo-laden classic — and the secret is the ranch dressing. Bits of turkey leg get coated in an extra-garlicky homemade ranch, and tossed with candied pecans and bitter bits of endive. It’s safe to say we’re not in chicken salad territory anymore.
801 O St. NW, Washington, DC; 202-525-2870
Courtesy of Dirt Candy
Popcorn beets with Thai curry ranch dressing: Dirt Candy (New York)
Amanda Cohen’s inventive vegetable restaurant is as playful as it is tasty. Her version of ranch uses a base of Thai curry — the creaminess tinged with coconut and lemongrass provides a refreshing offset to the sweet, cornmeal battered and fried beets.
86 Allen St., New York; 212-228-7732
Courtesy of Night + Market
Off-menu fried chicken sandwich: Night + Market (Los Angeles)
We’re allowing two ranch-filled fried chicken sandwiches on this list because, well, who wouldn’t want the heat-filled, Asian-street-food-inspired take on a fried chicken sandwich from Los Angeles' Night + Market? It includes Chieng Rai–style skin-on chicken (this means extra crispiness), spicy papaya slaw and cilantro, all cooled down with a slathering of housemade ranch. Conclusion: We want this now.
9043 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-275-9724