"We still get people coming in asking what happened to Tony Cheng's," sighs our server at the recently opened El Patrón (801 N. Charles Street, 410-244-8494), which does indeed occupy the digs of that former Szechuan favorite. But people should give El Patrón a chance, if only to enjoy a free basket full of the most addictive corn chips I think I have ever tasted. We couldn't decide what made them so good—they were a little lighter, a little sweeter than usual, and still hot from the fryer. As for food, we'd skip the so-so burritos and head straight for the homey comfort of the pollo culichi, a massive serving of shredded chicken in a creamy tomatillo sauce. Or get yourself some sizzling fajitas, which come with all the fixings and then some (like deliciously soupy and pork-laden charro beans). The modern Mexican dance-club soundtrack is an odd juxtaposition to the Victorian elegance of the two dining rooms, but it mostly works. And after a couple of those delicious, limey margaritas, you'll be ready to get up and dance yourself.
El Patrón brings Mexican to an elegant old Mt. Vernon rowhouse.
Issue date: August, 2007