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Jan 17, 2008 01:56 PM

El Patron Baltimore?

Anybody know anything about this place where Szechuan used to be on N. Charles? Is it open/will it be opening soon? If open, has anyone been there?

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  1. Its been open for a while. I went once over the summer. I remember we were the only people in the restaurant when we sat. We thought it was okay. I dont remember what either of us had (nothing stood out) but I do remember we found the chicken to be better than the beef. Wasn't bad but I didn't have a major urge to go back. But certainly worth trying if you're in the neighborhood.

    1. Had margaritas (so-so) and chips and salsa (not so good) at the bar there one Saturday night, the dining room was deadsville and it was only 8pm. I have a friend who lives around the corner and said it is always like that and that they are trying more to have the upstairs be a nightclub complete with velvet rope and giant bouncer. When I was there, it was such a strange vibe I thought the place was a front for something!

      1 Reply
      1. re: hon

        How do places like that even stay open? That's crazy.

      2. Was there a few weeks ago on a Tuesday night. There were only two people working. The bartender-slash-server-busser-runner and the cook. They were friendly enough and we got to talking. It was pretty slow but there was an office party of twelve and another four top there, so about sixteen people total. Pretty quiet.

        The decor is basically left over from Tony Cheng's. They painted the walls in the dining room and hung big posters of Mexican heros in the vestibule. Odd, but that's how you do it when you operate on a limited budget.

        Our chips and salsa were okay - at least they fry the chips in-house and the salsa rojo had some flavor but was pureed, I prefer a bit chunkier.

        Most of the menu is the standard Tex-Mex fare that I try to avoid like the plague. To my mind, a burrito and fajita should not be allowed a place on the menu of a serious Mexican restaurant. Leave those for Chi-Chi's and whatever "mexican" restaurant mainstream America goes to.

        But turn to the back and you find the traditional menu. From that menu, we had the tamales (verde and rojo) which were very good and quite authentic. We also ordered the Chiles Relleno, which was fantastic and the Mole Poblano (just rockin').

        These traditional menu items were good. Darn good. Good enough that I plan on going back - I just hope they have enough business to stick it out. We found the food to be very authentic and very tasty (I've eaten through Mexico City and my dining companion is from Monterrey and she knows Mexican cuisine by heart).

        If you're looking for an authentic taste of Mexico then I think this is a great choice. If you're looking for crunchy tacos with ground beef and shredded cheese, then you're better off elsewhere.

        3 Replies
        1. re: onocoffee

          And yet, the best burritos are sometimes at the best, most traditional Mexican restaurants. La Sirinita, for example, has absolutely phenomenol burritos. In fact, while I generally like their more traditional food, the tacos, menudo, lengua platter and chile rellenos are all fantastic, it's hard to pass up their burrito. Their rice, with peas, combined with their great taco fillings, like lengua and crema make a terrific combination. Sure, no one else may be ordering it when I look around, but that doesn't mean it's not good. El Nayar makes pretty decent burritos as well.

          1. re: onocoffee

            "If you're looking for an authentic taste of Mexico then I think this is a great choice. If you're looking for crunchy tacos with ground beef and shredded cheese, then you're better off elsewhere."

            Is that because you had their cruchy tacos (or other Tex-Mex food) and disliked them, or because you feel that stuff like that (and I guess those that eat it) doesn't belong there (or wouldn't appreciate what's offered)?

            1. re: viperlush

              Never been to La Sirinita, but I'll take your word for it that their take on Tex-Mex is good. In many ways, It doesn't surprise me since I would expect that a Mexican restaurant would take their ingredients and preparations seriously.

              MarcDC - Tex-Mex is "Tex-Mex" and not traditional Mexican cuisine. I can appreciate Tex-Mex for its' regionality and, every once in a while, go out and enjoy it.

              Viper- I did not try anything from their Tex-Mex selections. If I'm going out to eat Mexican and am faced with a choice between a Tex-Mex burrito and Mole Poblano, the poblano will win out every time.