We have now visited El Patron in Chester, VA twice. The first time was o.k. We really liked the salsa; their version seemed to include chili powder which gave it a really full-bodied flavor. We also tried the queso dip, but found it completely devoid of flavor. Our meals were just average - not the worst Mexican we had ever had, but far from the best.
But on our second visit we opted for carry-out and were sorely disappointed. We ordered both the salsa and chips, as well as queso dip for a second try. The queso was just as bland as the first time and we would not get it again. Unfortunately, this time the salsa was completely different than the first time we had it. It had chopped onion that was much too large, and it was far spicier than the first time we tried it.
For our entrees we had an order of Carnitas, and Burrito Pozo Seco. Carnitas is by far my favorite dish to order at any basic Mexican restaurant - simple, delicious and difficult to ruin. Unfortunately, El Patron's Carnitas did not measure up. First, the portion of meat was surprisingly small; and even worse, what meat we did have was so riddled with large pieces of fat, that I had barely half a serving, by the time I removed it all. The meat was also not well-seasoned. I normally eat just the meat in a tortilla, relying on the spices from the dry-rub for flavoring. But there was just no real taste to this meat. The meat was also served in the container on top of my rice and beans in a single take-out container, meaning I had to pick it out of my beans, if I wanted to put it in a tortilla. The kitchen also neglected to place the tortillas for the carnitas in our carry-out bag, necessitating a return trip by my husband, where he had a frustrating encounter with the service staff.
The Burrito Pozo Seco, although a more generous portion, also lacked in flavor, it was just heavily coated with queso.
We'll think on it a while, before deciding whether to give El Patron a third and final try. There are just too many other choices out there.
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