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.
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.
Ambience: Colonial with a view
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.