The El Patio market is still open next door. I should have confirmed that they're still selling the delicious takeout empanadas. (Click here for all the El Patio posts.) In the restaurant, the Argentine dishes have given way to a pretty basic menu running from Mexican tacos to Salvadoran pupusas to American taco salad and chicken tenders.
I want go back and try some of the more involved items like the shrimp ceviche, the yuca
with refried pork, and the plantain empanadas dessert. For my first trip, I tried tacos, which I thought were a yardstick to fairly measure a Mexican place. I hope they aren't. The beans and rice were actually quite good, but the basic tacos looked and tasted like dinner in suburban Virginia right after my family discovered flour tortillas and gave up Old El Paso taco shells. A flour tortilla. Some ground beef or chicken. Shredded iceberg lettuce. Diced supermarket tomatoes. Shredded cheese from a bag. That's still a fine dinner, but we could make that
at home 25 years ago.
The tortillas tasted exactly like the ones that I buy at Bloom. The best flavor on the table was the El Yucateco habanero sauce that I used liberally. That was disappointing because real Mexican tacos are just north on U.S. 1 at the El Nayar restaurant or Pupuseria Lorenita's truck.
It's the rice and beans that give me hope -- mashed, refried black beans and light, flavorful rice. As I wrote in a post about the best Mexican restaurants in Howard County, many local places serve bland side dishes. Las Vegas clearly puts some talent and into theirs, and I hope that comes through in some of the other dishes.
Las Vegas #2 has a sister restaurant on Security Boulevard in Baltimore. Can anyone recommend good dishes at either location? I'm looking for a reason to go back. I was even wondering if I got served "American" tacos because Las Vegas thinks that I would prefer flour tortillas and the American style. (UPDATE: David P wrote below about the original Las Vegas and talks up the salsa and a shrimp dish. Marianne complimented the pupusa and platanos.)
If you want Mexican food, your starting place should be Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia. Or peruse the restaurants discussed in my post about Mexican food in Howard County, especially El Azteca in Clarksville and La Palapa in Ellicott City or Laurel.
If you visit Las Vegas, definitely check out the El Patio market next door -- if only to pick up the frozen empanada wrappers from Argentina. Also check out my post about the great food options along U.S. 1 from Elkridge through Jessup.
Las Vegas Restaurant #2
7968 Washington Blvd (U.S. 1)
Jessup, MD 20794
NEAR: Just south of Rte 175 on U.S. 1. It's on the east side about a block south of the intersection. Very convenient from I-95.