Thursday, March 27

LBJ Likes it Part II: El Patio

anything to get to the enchiladas...

The time has come for the 2nd installment of my 3 part series on LBJ's favorite mexican restaurants. This time: El Patio

El Patio has been cranking out South Texas style Tex-Mex for longer than most of you, our faithful readers, have been alive. Much like one of LBJ's other favorites, Matt's El Rancho, El Patio is the kind of joint that has become a family tradition for many Austinites. Folks whose parents brought them are now bringing their kids. This is made possible by the fact that the food hasn't changed much, if at all, since they opened their doors.

This kind of old fashioned Tex-Mex fare is not for everyone. It is not light. It is not especially veggie-friendly. It is not exotic. It is not fancy in any way. There are mountains of yellow american cheese and gallons of comino infused chili sauce involved. To many, these are bad things. To a lifelong lover of trad. Tex-Mex like your humble Cornbiter, they are not.

While I don't hit up the Tex-Mex joints that often compared to Jalisco style taquerias or taco trucks, when the mood hits, there is nothing else that will do the job.


To me, the ultimate expression of traditional Tex-Mex is the cheese enchilada plate. Tortillas filled with processed cheese completely aswim in rich chili con carne sauce and topped with another huge pile of cheese before the whole thing goes in to the oven to congeal into a lovely morass of love. HOT PLATE your waitperson says. Indeed.

El Patio serves up a rock solid example of the cheese enchilada plate. You are advised to come hungry and order modestly. If you get the three enchilada plate, you are going to leave very, very sorry. Easy on the gut is not what this food is about. It's taken me years of practice to make it out of El Patio without seriously regretting the amount of food I've eaten.

The tacos and chalupas are also delicious and beyond satisfying in their delivery of cheese and beef to your bod. The red table salsa is on the thin and mild side for my taste, but it does deliver the vinegary kick this kind of food requires. Your meal at El Patio always comes with a free dish of sherbert or a homemade praline. Try the praline. It's terrific.

The service at El Patio is amazing. It's the kind of place that has waiters who've been working there for decades. They are personable, swift, and generally very good at what they do.

In short, if you want a bite of food before you go to yoga or the dog park for a jog, do not go to El Patio. If you want get together with the family and luxuriate in the tradition and the chili and the cheese and the always full glass of iced tea, then bring it on.

El Patio - 3.75 stars - Cornbiter Deluxe
2938 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705-3728
Phone: (512) 476-5955
Mon-Sat 11am-9:30pm

3 comments:

Cara said...

I will be moving to Austin in July and am VERY happy I found your blog now. Mmmm. I am going to have to try all the good places you suggest. mmm.

Anonymous said...

this is the worst restaurant ever! Tex-mex at its absolute worst. This is nowhere near mexican food or edible food for that matter. Awful. Stale chips that were warmed up in the microwave, watered down velveeta chees poured on everything including enchiladas. Just awful

Anonymous said...

This is also the worst texmex i've ever had, atleast at a restaurant. It tasted like the cafeteria tacos served in my high school with some packet picante sauce. Bland ground beef meat, sloppy, not spicey. I was disappointed seeing that it gets busy during lunch.