I really liked Cobras and Matadors and will be back. Everything that came to the table was very good, some of it great.
I got there a bit earlier than the meeting time with another person and we had 3 plates before most other folks showed up: salt cod cakes, cubed fried potatoes dusted with truffles, and the fried squid with sweet chili/romesco (?) sauce. The potatoes and the squid came with similar, if not the same, romesco sauce (which was also on the meatballs/albondigas), that I kind of didn't care for. No matter, 'cuz the spuds and the squid were great without it. Cod cakes were fabulous too (topped with a creamy sauce and capers) and nothing fried was greasy at all.
Some other things we had: the jamon and cheese on bread slices were good (and there was a sweet note with those), the fried lentils were fabulous (and I don't even care for lentils!) and had jamon and orange zest, the asparagus was great, the socca cakes (like little hummus pancakes) were very interesting but the honey based syrup they were in was a bit of overkill and needed less sweet and another flavor note - the cakes themselves, though, were pretty darn tasty. We probably had other things, but that is all I can recall...
And how I wish we had stayed at Cobras and Matadors...
Why Patanegra would want to piss off a party of 9 (and one that actively posts about their food experiences on line, to boot!) is beyond me. The person who made the reservation told us of the attitude she got when making the reservation (make sure you are there on time!! make sure everyone in your party is there!!) and so we were very careful to make sure that we had enough time to walk over.
So we were all there on time and had to wait outside at the curb, trying not to crowd the outside tables, for about 15-20 minutes. When the person told us that he didn't have a table and that it would only be 10 minutes, I said to him that when you make a reservation and are told what our rep. was told, especially in the way she was told it, that it's really unacceptable. He said nothing and looked like he didn't care. And the person who made the reservations probably got it right when she said that he probably wouldn't even say anything to the owner, because he's the boss and can do what he likes on the phone and won't care what his underling says about it. And no, they did absolutely nothing to try and make it up to us in any way. In fact, we got indifferent service.
So we were seated after 20 minutes and given one drink menu for 9 people. Great job. When we asked the server for more, she brought 2 more. Thanks again.
The menu is larger than C&M, by far, but so many things were overpriced and none were executed particularly well, I thought, aside from the duck and maybe the scallops wrapped in jamon. So many things were salty and most of the others were just not that great, some were awful. I thought that the empanada was mushy, flavorless and dreadful. The garlic shrimp were overcooked and barely garlicky. The ceviche was OK, but nothing special to me (but it WAS one of the better things on the table, all things being relative). The skewers, eh. The cheese plate was OK, but could they spare it for the price? It was a lousy value.
I know that one in our group had a problem concerning her wine, not sure what it was... Two couples shared a chestnut beer and weren't too thrilled (they sell it at Vinopolis, btw on Alder and 11th...I was there today picking up some prosecco for the weekend - all Italian wines are 15% off all through July!), though my house cava (Spanish sparkler) was pretty decent for a $7 glass.
The last slap in the face was the 20% they added for the gratuity. We all paid in and we were over by about $3...and it seemed that everyone was in agreement on that no way in hell are we gonna leave any extra $$ on the table!
Went over to Alotto Gelato afterward to get the bad taste out of our mouths...and I had that fabulious amarena cherry flavor they make. Yum!
At least we ended on a good note! ;o)
So, I'll be back to Cobras and Matadors, which was really good and where Micah, the owner/chef, came out to check on us and make some recs and generally be the nice and charming guy he seems to be. The happy hour there offers a great way to sample some yummy menu choices for $2-3 less per plate.
I will avoid Patanegra though, and tell others to do the same.
Some other comments from other people at the link below: