In 1979 Frank Sinatra sang the song New York New York for his album Trilogy: Past, Present and Future. In the last line of the song Mr. Sinatra states “If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere. It's up to you, New York, New York”. Fort Smith is not New York, however there is a part of Fort Smith where that line holds true: the intersection at Phoenix Avenue and Towson Avenue. The reason is because that location has been home to numerous restaurants that have come and gone (anyone remember Penjamos or Mi Pueblita?). Two weeks ago the latest restaurant to occupy this space, Patron Mexican Grill opened its doors. The big question that many people are asking is “Do they have what it takes to make it here?”. This examiner visited Patron and will admit that they are off to a decent start.
Upon entering Patron one will first notice the amount of seating. Patron has a large dining room which can accommodate fifty to a hundred people easily. Another plus is the waitstaff is friendly. Diana, one of the waitresses, was busy making sure everyone had their order out in a timely manner and that any additional needs of the customers were met. However the big question remains “What is the food like?”
The one thing about dining at a Mexican restaurant in the Fort Smith area is that many of the restaurants feature the same dishes which can be found in other establishments. It seems like one cannot walk into a Mexican restaurant without seeing the Steven Special or Speedy Gonzales on the menu. Patron does offer the Speedy Gonzales, but it also has other dishes that are not found in many of the Mexican restaurants in Fort Smith. Bajama Rock Shrimp Tacos, Chicken Habanero Cream Enchiladas and the Tilapia Patron are among the more exotic dishes that can be found at Patron, as well as Oysters on a half shell. However the biggest difference can be found when the server brings out the complimentary bowl of chips and salsa.
Patron brings out three different bowls of salsa. The first bowl is traditional salsa that is routinely offered in many restaurants. The second bowl is a Roasted Tomato Sauce which is salsa cooked with a few other ingredients. The third bowl will look like Guacamole dip to most, but is not. It is a dip made from peppers found only in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. This is the hottest of the three dips, so make sure that a cold beverage is waiting nearby before trying some. The entree that this examiner sampled was the Chimichanga. Served with Rice, Guacamole, Re-fried Beans and Pico de Gayo, this entree had a pleasant taste and was filling.
Patron Mexican Grill also offers live entertainment on Saturday night, when a Mariachi band from Tulsa comes to perform at the restaurant. The band starts playing at 7 PM and will come around to all of the tables and play for the diners present. For those who are looking for a true taste of Mexico and not just a carbon copy of someone else, try Patron Mexican Grill.
Patron Mexican Grill is located at 4416 Towson Avenue, Fort Smith, AR, 479-648-1130. The restaurant is open from 11 Am until 9 Pm Sunday thru Thursday, and 11 Am until 10 Pm Friday and Saturday.
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