Patrick's Evolved Menu Pays Homage to the Past
Patrick's Restaurant and Pub features a trio of American, Italian and Spanish cuisine.
Despite having been a mainstay in the Cockeysville community for quite a while, I had been unfamiliar with Patrick's Restaurant and Pub (550 Cranbrook Rd.).
As a result, I visited with no expectations and honestly, left thoroughly confused, albeit stuffed.
One might think that a pub named Patrick's that dots its "I" with a three-leaf clover and advertises after-funeral parties on its website would have a decidedly Irish slant. But the menu, mostly comprising American cuisine, also boasted a healthy number of Italian and Spanish dishes. In fact, the Spanish dishes looked suspiciously familiar to me.
I immediately recognized classic items seemingly taken straight off the menu of Baltimore City's beloved cornerstone of Spanish cuisine, Tio Pepe. Shrimp in garlic sauce, filet mignon tournedos, pine nut roll for dessert -- all dishes that have made Tio Pepe a local celebrity.
So what's the story with Patrick's? How did its menu get to be such a conglomeration of various cuisines, all with a distinct Baltimore touch?
Originally an Irish pub, Patrick's changed hands in 1995 and former Tio Pepe chef Tomas Sanz came aboard, which helps explain the Spanish influence. Now, Mary Lou Brosso and her daughter, chef Carole Brosso, own Patrick's, where they contribute their unique Italian style to the restaurant.
My taste tester and I split the crab mushrooms ($11), six mushrooms stuffed with crab imperial, advertised as a chef's favorite. The mushrooms were hot and had great flavor and texture, but the imperial was heavy on the mayonnaise, leaving me thirsting for more water. Although the service was warm and friendly, it wasn't the most attentive, and I found my glass empty on more than one occasion.
Our entrees came out almost simultaneously with the appetizer, but I was hungry and didn't mind. I ordered the shrimp in garlic sauce ($22), "Patrick's famous," according to the menu.
I'll admit it; I was hoping for a Tio Pepe redux dish, and I was sorely disappointed. The portion was huge and the shrimp perfectly cooked over saffron rice, but the sauce fell short. I didn't taste the garlic in it, and its heat left me in need of water again. I wasn't able to finish, but I wasn't interested in taking the leftovers with me, either.
My dining partner ordered from the "Chef's Mediterranean Corner" portion of the menu, opting for the seafood scampi ($25), which comes with with shrimp, scallops and lump crabmeat in a light garlic sauce over linguine.
Again, the sauce disappointed. It wasn't the garlicky, buttery wine-based sauce one expects to find over a scampi; instead it was weighted down by the Romano cheese on top, prompting my dining buddy to liken it to macaroni and cheese.
Overall, the experience wasn't a bad one. The food came out quickly, and although it was overpriced when it came to the flavor, the Brossos don't skimp on quantity. I'd be willing to take a second trip to sample more of the large, multicultural menu.