Thursday, June 13, 2013

El Primer Piso, Pátzcuaro

Sunday, June 9, 2013, we joined a friend at the Restaurant El Primer Piso, on the Plaza Grande  in Pátzcuaro. We last had eaten there in late September, 2005, when we were moving into the area. There have been numerous changes in Pátzcuaro over time, but some things stay the same.

El Primer Piso has hardly changed in eight years, other than a recent move to a new close by location on the Plaza. The menu is almost identical to what was offered in 2005. The new dining room is lighter and more pleasant, with food related mottoes painted on the walls.

Our waitress brought us a basket of bread. Although the bread was unheated and ordinary, the accompanying herb butter was good.

We ordered glasses of wine, at about $50 pesos the glass. There were two reds and two whites, all of them the usual players from the Costco bargain wine shelves.

As the day was windy and rainy, I started my meal with a bowl of Sopa Tarasca. This bean or tomato based soup, invented by a local restaurateur, is a good indicator of a restaurant's overall quality. The Primer Piso version received good marks. Besides the classic garnishes of toasted chile pasilla, fried tortilla strips and crema, this came with slices of avocado. I would fault it only for its acidic edge.

Our companion, Ron, chose two appetizers for his meal. The first was a   sleeper: Calabacitas con Almendras y Queso. He shared it with us and it was perfectly made. Fresh láminas of zucchini, sauteed briefly and dressed with almonds and aged cheese.

His second appetizer, Chile Relleno de Camarones, was substantial enough to be a main course. The chile was a dried and rehydrated one, filled with a seasoned bread crumb and shrimp mixture. We agreed that despite the dramatic, even scary appearance of the chile, the filling was dull. The shrimp were lost in the bread crumbs.

Sra. Cuevas reprised the same dish I'd had eight years previously: Pescado en Salsa Negra. The fish is served in a slightly piquant, sweet and sour sauce. It's a pleasant dish, but again, one where a dramatically dark appearance takes precedence over dramatic flavor.

Just for something totally different and unlike my usual preferences, I chose Pollo Hindú. It was a large, tender, boneless chicken breast in a very mild, curry flavored cream sauce. The sauce had ground cashews in it, which added little to the whole. Overall, the dish was nice, but unexciting. The home made chutney on the sides was a very nice touch.  Note: I set the little dried chile aside.

The exceptional dishes of our meal were the Sopa Tarasca and the Calabacitas. The others were good but did not fulfill our hopes. Over all, though, a nice change from the mole/enchiladas/arrachera type menus so common in restaurants here.

After perusing the short dessert list, we decided against having any. For after dinner coffee and hot chocolate, we went instead to another, street level coffee house across the Plaza, where my companions enjoyed a homemade brownie and a generous slice of pastel de mil hojas.

Food: ***

Service: ****

Price: $$-$$$

Ambience: Colonial with a view

Restroom: O.k.

East side of Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, Centro, Pátzcuaro, over the Once Pizzas restaurant..

Opens at 2:p.m. Sorry, I don't know which days it's open, although I suspect every day.


John Calypso said...

As always a fine report with excellent visual support. Thank You.

Felipe Zapata said...

That's a good restaurant. It is also, I believe, the priciest in town, literally, which keeps me and mine from being regulars.

Good write-up, as always.

DonCuevas said...



DonCuevas said...

Gracias. I'm sure you recognize where we had the desserts. Although I had only a hot chocolate. my companions praised the desserts.


jennifer rose said...

The same menu as 13 years ago.

Steve Cotton said...

Your reviews are always very helpful to me. I have stopped at this place a couple of times, but I never found anything on the menu that interested me. When I return, I now have some candidates.

Tancho said...

I saw them painting their signs and repairing the window panes about a month ago....I wondered if they had changed any, with your review, it appears that new digs, did little for a menu change. The inside does look a lot more inviting then the dark dreary previous dining room ambiance-less did.

It will be a good place to take visitors from afar, since they always seem to offer to treat us as payment for being good tour guides.
I also see that LaCampana has spruced up their digs now that the building owner has turned the rest of the property into a snazzy destination hotel...
Now if we could only get a nice Jewish Deli into town.....

DonCuevas said...

Jewish deli? En tus sueños.

I understand that the new Hotel Casa Leal (If I recall the name correctly) offers a Sunday buffet. I am very dubious about buffets. Possibly a braver soul and palate will check it out.


Tancho said...

Probably, I know that they are owned by the same family that owns LaSurtidora.

Mexico's Guest said...

St. Cotton, only if you,ve been hankering for the ki d of food served at a Rotary ouncheon at the Ramada Inn.