Restaurant Review: Don Patron Clintonville

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Cheap. Stupid cheap. You-gotta-be-kidding-me cheap. See, since I suppose those words will trump any other clever opening I could ever hope to scribble down here, why bother? So out with it: the Sunday buffet lunch at the new Don Patron in Clintonville is a ridiculously good deal - $7.50 for all the standard Mexican fare you can possibly hog down your ample throat.

As concerns the eatery in question, well, I guess somewhere in our city's charter there's an official decree that 2977 N. High St. shall forever more be a Mexican-ish restaurant. After all, the site once housed the funky (if pioneering) Talita's, then it was Fiesta Time's time and now the same address is home to the best Mexican incarnation it's ever described - a branch of the Don Patron chain (there's also Dons out in New Albany and Pickerington).

This folk-arty Don sports walls in various candy-colored tints that match the brightly painted chairs and booths glossily depicting blooming flowers, dancers, roosters and so on. There's also a small bar, an altar-like Virgin of Guadalupe and a tiled roof/fake village square arcade.

Now on to that super buffet deal. From 12 to 3 p.m. on Sundays, the Don lays out a long table of all your expected favorites a la 21st-century, Columbus-style Mexican food. Here's a few highlights.

Start off with a flat fried tortilla and convert it into a true tostada by smearing on regulation refried beans; topping that with the shredded chicken meat stewed with tomatoes, onions and peppers (good!); and finishing off with guacamole (above average, with plenty of onion and cilantro) and hot sauce.

Skip the flour-tortilla-wrapped burritos in favor of the better corn-tortilla-bound enchiladas. And don't miss out on the fine mixed beef and chicken fajitas, sauteed with big chunks of peppers, tomatoes and onions.

But by all means, save room for the addictive eggs and chorizo (which should read vice-versa) - decorate that delicious mound with drips from the slightly tangy, semi-molten, thick white cheese sauce.

The black beans also stand out. They're soupy and cooked with salsa, so get your fiber while you can. Towards the end of the line, there's a tray with fried flautas and chimichangas; I especially like the chicken flautas dipped into the guacamole (eaten like a giant french fry with ketchup).

Lastly, there's some sliced fruit nesting next to some irresistible sopapillas - crispy and flaky fried flour tortillas lovingly sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. So have some of those, too. On your way home, laugh at all the food you ate and money you didn't spend.

Don Patron Mexican Restaurant

2977 N. High St., Clintonville