The first taste of the cream sauce had me begging for more. The second had me nearly screaming, “Hurry up, margarita!” It was the only thing that doused the fire.
I ordered a $7 El Patron happy hour margarita. It wasn’t syrupy—a quality that’s too often a margarita signature. It was mixed with fresh-squeezed lemons and limes that didn’t overpower the Patron Silver. Our guacamole ($4.25) was cool and buttery with not a lump to be seen.
While we were waiting for our meals, a white-haired man sat down at an electric keyboard and announced himself as Freddie Chavez. His rendition of “Fly Me to The Moon,” soon had the place dancing.
The chicken tamales with red chile ($8.75) featured a masa that was firm and thick, but easily fell apart in my mouth revealing shredded white meat, lightly flavored with cilantro. The red chile was clean and not bitter, though I prefer a red that has a creamier, softer taste.
Red chile barbecue ribs ($13.95 for the half rack) were tender and and glazed with a honey-based sauce. A server brought a couple of sopaipillas to our table, though we hadn’t ordered any. Not too greasy, they were crispy on the outside and soft inside, just as they should be. Our dessert, a house-made slice of New York style cheesecake, was creamy, and came with a fresh raspberry compote which was tart enough to make it a perfect contrast to the sweetness.
We returned several days later to find out why El Patron's bar prides itself on the “Patron tequila chill tower” that apparently cools sipping-quality liquor to zero degrees. We shared a chilled Patron Reposado shot ($10) that was strong, straightforward and a little oaky. A St. Patron margarita ($8.75) came recommended by a waitress. It was mixed with St. Germain liqueur (made from elderflower blossoms), but its flavor was buried under the sweetness and citrus.
I will definitely return to El Patron and try another dish featuring their fiery serrano chile sauce, and wash it down with a happy hour margarita (or two). Maybe we can squeeze in another visit before the weather gets cold so that we can hear Freddie Chavez on the outdoor patio.