El Patio in Rockville - Report
Although El Patio has been in Rockville for years, I don't remember reading one word about this Argentinian restaurant on Chowhound. Is it because nobody goes there? Is it because it is completely forgettable?
After going there a couple of nights ago, I conclude the latter.
I have to be fair that I didn't order a steak in this steak-focused restaurant. I ordered a fried empanada (totally soggy and dripping in oil), a tongue salad that was overpowered with acrid garlic, and a dish of melted provolone that I was hoping would be sharp or aged or something tasty. But, no it was just a wad of cheese.
Also, there were 'entertainers' playing very loudly. It was near the end of the food service, so maybe they were the crowd chasers.
I've been to the old location a handful of times. I've had one of their steak platters, quiche, empanadas, 'something' con leche, and tastes off of other people's plates. They were OK; not great, but not bad either. The place has been around for a long time and I think it's generally a hangout for the Argentine community. It also has a bakery and a small grocery area with Argentine specialties.
You should see the place come World Cup time and Argentina is playing. A sea of blue and white striped shirts around the TVs - the place is packed inside and out; the crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk.
We get up to Rockville regularly and need a place to eat before our evenings out. We have had meals here that range from OK to OK. The short ribs are always juicy but without the char I really want. Fabulous blood sausage, sweetbreads a good buy but can be on the dry side. Wish they would just put a jar or a real sized bowl of chimmichurri on the table and not the little plastic cups. We have not been to the new place as it is less conveniently located.
Steve, my visits have been much like yours, with exceptionally indifferent service too. But someething is going on here, as they have been around a long time, in a competitive market, with enough success to upgrade their location.
My sense is there is a large group of Argentinians et al that enjoy a very different experience than we do. I have seen large tables of families celebrating birthdys etc, especially at lunch on weekends, having lots of fun and enjoying huge platters of grilled meats.