Pachanga Patterson
33-17 31st Avenue, Astoria

It’s rare that we try a one week old place, but we could not resist a haute Mexican eatery opening in walking distance from our home. Especially one from the owners of Vesta, a local Italian favorite. So we were very excited when we walked through the door at Pachanga Patterson. The eatery retains some of the serenity of the former tenant, the Himalayan Tea House, with its exposed brick, dark atmosphere and friendly servers; and adds a decidedly modern menu of upscale Mexican offerings.

We tried the trio of salsas with chips: roasted corn & tomato, tomatillo & avocado, and charred tomato & serrano chili. All were quite flavorful and distinct. At $12, its a little pricey, although the staff was ready to immediately refill our chip basket, when we got down to a lone few. For entrees we had the two different taco sets: fried pollack, charred tomatillo salsa, pickled red cabbage and moo shu duck, sriracha hoisin, cucumber. Again, a little pricey for Astoria at $12 each for 3 tacos, without accompaniment. But the duck tacos were delicious! The Asian flavors of the sriracha hoison complemented the duck perfectly. My only complaint is that I wanted more of this dish. The fish tacos were cooked well, but were slightly bland and were elevated by the green (tomatillo?) sauce on the table. The dishes definitely left us wanting more. We thought tacos would be an entree, but they are somewhere between an expensive app and a very light main. Next time I would try a standard app like the Stuffed Chili, which they didn’t have, and one of their three entrees. I am not a fan of huge menus, but this one is a little hard to navigate for its smaller size.

So, like its name, this place is still a little bit of a mystery. As far as I can tell, it is not a place to come for a traditional Mexican meal, but one that specializes in small plates and drinks. After one week, I can’t expect perfection, and they seem to be trying very hard. I will definitely go back, but maybe with different expectations and a bigger order. Above all, I want to unravel how this place relates to Patterson…