This is a post about lowered expectations.
I recognize that I’m a snob when it comes to Mexican food and I don’t mean to be a hater, but honestly, El Patron is not a good Mexican restaurant. It isn’t even really Mexican, it is Tex-Mex like 99.999% of the “Mexican” restaurants in Tallahassee.
And yet, on a rainy Monday night after yoga I found myself at El Patron, again. I’d been there before so I knew what I was in for. It’s basically a full-service Qdoba with a larger menu and slushy drinks. I was just so damn desperate for Mexican food that I didn’t care.
Let me just say, Tallahassee doesn’t get Mexican food. If you ask most people here where they like to go for Mexican, they will start to enthusiastically explain where you can get the cheapest pitchers of watery margaritas (don’t deny it Tallahassee). I can only think of one local Mexican restaurant where I have been given a lime with my meal (La Tiendita). In fact, there is only one authentic Mexican restaurant that I know of in town (La Tiendita) and it is located in the back of a seedy convenience store (Mark will review asap).
El Patron is located in a retrofitted Applebees on Apalachee Parkway in Myers Park. This is a plus in my book because I have some serious high-school nostalgia for that particular layout (does anyone else still get misty-eyed over the disappearance of the Apple Chimi Cheesecake). They’ve done some nice things to make the place cheery and give it some south-of-the-border decor. It seems like a good place to hang out with a group of friends and converse drunkenly at high volume.
The menu options are completely standard Tex-Mex fare. They deserve credit for sending out warm tortilla chips and (I think) house-made red salsa which is pleasing if uninspired. They also have mole on the menu—a rarity in Tally. Mark said it was palatable but too sweet, insufficiently complex, and needed more chilies.
I got chicken and steak fajitas. They were fine, basically Applebees-level ironically. The meat was not noticeably marinated although there was some indeterminate spicing on it. Their beans are pretty good, nicely runny. Rice was bland but inoffensive.
All in all it was a meal and for the Tally Mexican food scene probably above average. In fact, a lot of Tallahassians seem to really like El Patron (check out the great ratings they get on Urbanspoon and Yelp). Nevertheless, I didn’t bother taking my leftovers home.
Do you know of any good authentic Mexican in the Tallhassee vicinity? I’d be willing to drive to Quincy!