Monday, May 9, 2011

El Patron, you lost nuevo patrons last night.....

Last night,  my wonderful brother in-law treated my sister and I to dinner at El Patron, a new Mexican food restaurant located on Florida Avenue and Dartmouth in Hemet, California.

We were greeted by very friendly hostesses, they were smiling, appeared excited about working at El Patron and were very informative when asked questions.  We had a few children with us making for a party of seven and as it was Mother's Day, we had to wait several minutes for a table to be set up for. 

Our Server's name was Amanda, she is an experienced server and appeared to know what she was doing.  Amanda came to our table promptly bearing chips and salsa.  The chips were warm and crisp and the salsa was very good.  Our beverage order was taken and after a few minutes, we received our drinks.  At this time, the restaurant had approximately ten medium to large parties and there appeared to be a few small parties in the bar along with a party of twelve.

Shortly thereafter, our experience took a turn for the worst.  Our server took our order, writing it out on her pad in long hand.  As an experienced server, I never took orders long hand, not even when we hung tickets; which is what appeared to be happening in this restaurant.  The only reason this affected us was that it took a very long time to take our order in this manner.  This procedure made me wonder how experienced the cooks were if they could not read short hand server orders.

During the time that we waited for our food, our drinks were filled and we were plied with plenty of salsa and chips.  We noticed that the food expediter was confused as to what food went to which table, carrying sizzling fajitas (that smelled great) around the restaurant, looking for its owner.  This confusion took place during our entire stay, we were offered other tables plates repeatedly.  At one point the expediter asked if we were sure that the plates in her hand were not ours.  At times, it was very Keystone Copsy.

Shortly, our server became noticeably busy as she had to take over the tables in the bar so the bartender could make drinks.  This measure did not make sense as there were several servers, bus persons and expediters that were running around appearing to be making busy work, who should have been able to assist our server or the bartender.  We waited several minutes before we were served our meals.  Our plates did not live up to most of our expectations because:
    • Chile Verde Burrito Plate - rice and beans were cold and the "green sauce" is not green nor does it have the tomatillo/ortega chili flavor at all.  The meat itself was pleasantly tender albeit lukewarm.
    • Carne Asada Burrito Plate - my niece ordered her burrito with no pico de gallo or red sauce and guacamole inside.  The burrito came with red sauce on top and our server had to return to the kitchen for guacamole.  The burrito was not edible.
    • Two Chicken Enchilada plate - My daughter was not pleased with her enchiladas and refused to eat them.
    • Tamale Plate - My niece indicated that she did not care for the type of tamales offered on her plate and did not eat them.
    • Bean and Cheese Burrito - My nephew didn't have anything to say either here nor there.
    • Chicken Enchilada Plate with Green Sauce.  My sister did not eat her Chicken Enchilada as she did not care for the ungreen sauce and did not like the flavor of the enchilada.  She indicated that her tortillas were too hard.  I sampled the tortilla of the enchilada and in my opinion, while clearly I was not tasting green sauce, the tortillas were of a thicker nature and very corn flavored which I happen to prefer.
    • Shrimp Burrito - My Brother-In-Law approved of his meal giving his plate an 8 1/2.  Did I mention that he's our Mikey?  He'll eat anything.
 Overall, I would not recommend the food until maybe after being open a few months they can hopefully get it together.  It appears there needs to be a table map so that the food can go to the correct tables and the cooks need to work on timing.  In addition, the servers could use a little training as far as standard seating so that an expediter can be more useful to them and the confusion could be lifted in this area.

I also experienced the restroom and I was absolutely 100% appalled!  The old fashioned dome lid trashcan with swinging door was over full, there were paper towels and toilet paper rolls scattered on the dirty floor.  One of the two toilets had apparently flooded and while there was a "caution wet floor" sign, the mess had not been cleaned up.  In the working stall there was toilet paper all over the floor surrounding the toilet.  The sink area was dirty.  At this time, I made a note to myself:  Check restrooms prior to sitting down to eat at a restaurant, because had I done this, I would have gone elsewhere.  On my way back to the table, I  stopped six of the staff who were all walking from the hostess desk, I strongly urged them to take care of the restroom matter.  Minutes later, I noticed the two hostess briefly disappear into the restroom alcove for only seconds.  Out of curiosity, I returned to the restrooms to find it unchanged.  I popped the men's room door open and observed it to be in the same condition.

As I had not once seen any person that appeared to be a manager or even a supervisor, I asked the server whom served my sister and I our Mother's Day flan if there was a manager present.  She answered yes and asked if I wanted to see him.  I declined as I speechless at this point.  I will say, the flan is very very good as I prefer eggy flan and was not disappointed.

To sum up our visit to El Patron: The hostesses, bus persons and servers were all very pleasant.  However, the food was found to be more than lacking and the restrooms undeniably disgusting.  I don't think we will be returning to El Patron anytime soon because, while the flan and salsa with chips are superb, we just won't be able to stomach surroundings and dinner plates.

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