El Patron Cocina and Bar is a locally-owned Mexican restaurant, but it’s not your standard mexi-gringo fare. My sister is a local and she first clued us in to this gem; we’ve been back multiple times and are never disappointed.
It’s definitely off the beaten track, as far as restaurants go. It’s in a somewhat industrial area, and I would never have picked it out, just driving by. It’s even a little hard to find when you are looking for it. (The gray arrow in the photo at left points to the El Patron awning.) But it’s worth the hunt!
The interior is a refreshing break from the ubiquitous chunky-wood-painted-neon-colors you find in so many local cocinas. It feels more like a bistro, with exposed brick walls displaying original art.
My favorite — and what I almost always order — is the fish tacos. As you can see in the photo below, they have a much more generous serving of fish than Seasons 52. You can get them on corn or flour tortillas, topped with cabbage, avocado, and pico, and they come with a side of mango salsa. What I love about them is that the balance of all the flavors is just exactly right: you can taste the fish but it’s not overwhelming, and you get just a small hit of the pico, without it dominating the dish.
But on this visit, my husband wanted the fish tacos, so I decided to order something different, and went with the tacos al pastor: tender chunks of pork, marinated in a “secret recipe.” It’s a very, very red sauce — prepare to get messy! — and though it contains pineapple and orange, don’t expect anything like a teriyaki. It’s a slightly sweet sauce with cinnamon being the most dominant note. It was nicely flavored; if I were a fan of cinnamon with meat, these would be fantastic. But I’m not, so I wasn’t wild about them. Understand, though, that it is just this matter of personal taste that is my only complaint. They were still delicious!
My husband and son have also ordered steak and shrimp — Arrachera con Camarones. It’s a marinated skirt steak, served with sauteed shrimp and caramelized onions. Garnished with charred jalapeno, beans, rice and guacamole on the side, served with flour tortillas. They’ve both ordered it more than once, which tells you that it’s good! (This photo is from the El Patron website; I didn’t get a good shot of it.)
So if you’re willing to venture beyond the Plaza and Westport, check this place out!
Located at: 2905 Southwest Blvd. (which is not the same as Southwest Trafficway)
Hours: open for lunch and dinner, M – Sat.; dinner only on Sun.
El Patron website.
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