Small Bite: El Patrón Bar & Grill

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El Patrón Bar & Grill

, which opened its doors in late 2006, offers many familiar Mexican entres and a handful of intriguing dishes that I don’t recall seeing at any of my favorite Tex-Mex haunts. Chief among them is the molcajete mixto. A rustic black stone bowl (the traditional molcajete) arrives at the table sizzling hot and filled with a choice of meat (we tried the shrimp), white cheese, onions and avocado in a pool of lemony, spicy green salsa. Draped over the edges of the bowl are grilled green bell pepper and softly blackened stalks of green onion. The striking ensemble is adorned with wilted cilantro and served with corn or flour tortillas.

I’d also highly recommend the kitchen’s smoky, intense adobo a tres chiles (pork slow-cooked with three varieties of Mexican chiles) and a fabulous, chocolatey mole poblano. Other dishes I can’t wait to try include pescado maya (fish served atop grilled cactus and blanketed with queso Oaxaca, a crumbly white cheese and bean sauce) and panuchós de cochinita pibil, a Yucatán dish featuring salsa-soaked shredded pork and bean-covered tortilla strips on banana leaves.            
          
6601 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 455-8945; patronbarandgrill.com