June 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm , by Serina Patrick
After a six hour drive, we were ready for drinks! But much to our chagrin, Mammoth Cave is located in a dry county in Kentucky, so we stocked up on Corona Lights before our arrival, not expecting any establishment to serve alcohol. Luckily, the Mexican restaurant across the street from our motel serves liquor.
El Patron is obviously not accustomed to handling large groups as our crew of thirteen seemed to have them flustered. Once seated at the three tables covered with plastic, we immediately ordered a round of margaritas on the rocks. Their signature margarita, deceptively called The Patron, sounded like the kind LC and I always order, made without sour mix….and without Patron.
Although the name El Patron implies Mexican food, the menu also offers a variety of American entrees, including duck. Our group stuck with Mexican. LC was ravenous and ordered a shrimp cocktail and an order of chicken flautas for us to split, as well as the achiote marinated roast pork entree. Several people ordered fajitas. There was a lengthy wait for our drinks, however, when they arrived we agreed they were the best margaritas we had ever had! A couple of baskets of mediocre chips finally showed up with what tasted like marinara instead of salsa. And it was warm….weird.
Suddenly, LC’s drink flew across the table onto his sister’s lap, causing additional confusion for the harried staff. Shortly after, three orders of fajitas arrived. Other entrees came out but LC and I still had not received our appetizers. Another round of potent margaritas made us feel better while we waited.
Finally, our flautas were delivered, four tortillas filled with shredded chicken and covered with melted cheese. Served with lettuce, sour cream, and a big pile of mushy rice, it was the size of a full entree. Although everyone’s meal came with guacamole, there was none, so I found our server and requested it for the table. The flautas were pleasantly crisp and tasty but lacked spice. My version with green chilis is better.
By the time our pork arrived, those that had fajitas were finished. It wasn’t a pretty plate, filled with shredded pork, more rice and some watery beans. We ordered corn tortillas on the side to make tacos. Again, tasty but no hint of heat. I was stuffed. That’s when the shrimp cocktail arrived, a margarita glass with at least eight big shrimp and chunks of avocado swimming in that same horrific “salsa”. It was passed around the table and eventually disappeared.
After dinner we walked to the nearby ice cream shop. Just opened by a family that relocated from Waycross, Georgia, it was like hillbilly heaven, complete with a gift shop cluttered with thrift store finds including an irridescent unicorn and teddy bears made of wax. We each got a cone and watched the kids race go-carts next door. As we were leaving the teenage girl, a self-proclaimed hoola hoop champion, came out to demonstrate her talent. Very scary stuff.
822 Mammoth Cave Street 270-773-2278
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