10 Things I Love About El Patron Restaurant

by ABQ Live Culinary Correspondent Chef Marc Quinoñes

Nestled deep into the heart of the Northeast heights lies an establishment with one heck of a Chef behind the stoves. His flair for flavor, attention to detail and passion for packed dining rooms is something to gawk at. Then there is the ambiance, which is as poetic as it is medicinal to the eyes due to its culturally rich nuances, thoughtfully woven throughout the dining room and adjacent bar. Friends and family, I present to you 10 reasons why El Patron Restaurant is an absolute must try.

El Patron

  1. Chef Jose Maldonado

Walking away from my interview with this stellar specimen of a Chef all I could think about was Antonio Banderas in those spectacularly cool movies he used to do in the 90’s. The reason why I say that is because watching this man cook is akin to watching Steven Segal blow through 3-4 bad guys in an action packed scene of great suspense and excitement. He has been running the kitchen since the doors opened 9 years ago. Hailing from Durango, Mexico, his Southwestern/Mediterranean-Greek style is unique and show stopping, just like those high octane flicks mentioned above.

2. Red Chile BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Slow cooked and topped with a Red Chile BBQ sauce these ribs were lights out! Sticky and tender, I wanted to order another round to take home with me. The sauce was sweet and tangy with just the right amount of spice! Another must-try dish at a restaurant that has more range than you may imagine.

3. Nachos

Layered perfectly with all of the right toppings, the Nachos at El Patron lived up to the hype. This pile of Chips, Guac, Carne Adovada, Black Beans, and Melty Cheese was the perfect combination of spicy and cheesy. Oh my God! The size of this plate was spectacular! Highly recommend as a plate to share amongst friends or grab it in the El Patron bar while you watch the big game.

4. Signature Sopapillas

Nothing quite hits the spot like a warm Sopapilla covered with honey at the end of an amazing meal. El Patron never skimps on the freshness of these soft yet crispy tasty morsels. Sometimes when a restaurant takes the simple things for granted, items like Sopapillas may not always taste like they should. Kudos to El Patron for their attention to detail.

5. Corvina Seabass Heaven

Oh. My. Lanta. Let me tell you one thing straight away…. The Seabass at El Patron is prepared by Chef Jose Maldonado who absolutely brings his best to every dish he creates and let’s be clear, I’m telling you that he has once again delivered a knockout performance of the ages with his Seabass. So delicate yet still so full of herbs & spices that will make you do the happy feet dance. He cooks it in a way that not many people have ever witnessed. This could, perhaps, be one of the best pieces of Fish you’ve ever had!!! This guy is such a Maverick!!

6. Chile Rellenos

Does it get any better than a Relleno?! Sure it does, particularly when it’s cooked by Chef Jose! Once again he applies such technique and gentle care handling this classic staple then on the flip side of the coin shows no mercy when it comes to applying his signature flavors of love. This is a classic done at a level that we are all just so fortunate to be able to experience. Thanks to the very capable and gifted hands of Chef Maldonado.

7. Award Winning Margarita

Imagine sitting at the bar of a hot and buzzing restaurant where the drinks match up to the high level of the food? Well we don’t have to kid ourselves because we have that right here in Albuquerque with Chef Jose Maldonado and El Patron! The freshness and bright flavor profile of this Margarita will immediately transport you to your favorite beach where you are sitting down enjoying a few of these tasty bar faves. What separates El Patron from the bunch is the Award that this Margarita has won, which if you order alongside Chef Jose’s Steak Tacos will do nothing but make your night one for the ages!›››››››››››››nothing but the very best ingredients that were carefully selected.

8. The Green Chile Lasagna

I will be honest, I didn’t know what to expect with this dish. Mixing influences for a plate like this doesn’t always go as planned, and some- times the idea is much better than what you end up with in the end. But this is not one of those cases. Spicy, cheesy, gooey, it checked all the boxes for me. I was blown away. Talk about a unique New Mexican plate that I was not expecting, if you ever get a chance to try it, I highly recommend you do.

9. The Sauce

By now we are all used to the question at all our favorite restaurants in town: “Red or Green?” But at El Patron they ask a different question, “Red, Green, or Serrano Cream.” Trust me when I say you need to try it on everything. Spicy, creamy, and just the right amount of consistency, it changes the game and makes me wish more restaurants had the option.

10. The Owners

Jimmy and Nadine Daskalos have a passion for creating a fun and comfortable environment with amazing food. I always say, you can always spot great leadership by how long staff works at a restaurant, and Jimmy and Nadine have a group of long lasting leadership at El Patron. You can feel their influence in every aspect of what is being executed on a daily basis.