Review: Patriot-X

It´s not just hospoda food anymore: Laura Baranik on the upscale Czech restaurant Staff

Written by Staff Published on 04.04.2007 11:40:54 (updated on 04.04.2007) Reading time: 3 minutes

Written by Laura Baranik

Patriot-X has a mission. They want to prove to you that Czech cuisine is more than just pub food – that, if done correctly, it can rise to the world-class level of, say, gourmet French gastronomy.

Do they succeed? Well, not really. But the French are pretty tough competition, and Czech cuisine is far more limited in scope than that of their food-obsessed counterparts in Paris and Lyon – though Patriot-X might have you think otherwise. The name apparently comes from the x (infinite) possibilities represented by traditional Czech culinary values; still, the chef borrows heavily from other regional cuisines to pull it all together. Risotto, snails, and that ubiquitous favorite, the goat cheese salad, are all on the menu, right next to more traditional Czech fare such as roasted duck with cabbage and svíčková na smetaně (beef sirloin with cream sauce). Rating
From our plate
298 CZK Confit of duck foie gras
149 CZK Cream of boletus mushrooms soup
219 CZK Goat cheese salad
480 CZK Beef sirloin in cream sauce
497 CZK Roasted breast of pheasant
145 CZK Milk chocolate mousse with marzipan
105 CZK Moravian Cabernet and Port sorbet
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Regardless of their cultural origins, most of the dishes are accomplished well, and even, in some cases, exceptionally so. A foie gras starter oozes subtle flavor, its heady butteriness and deep cinnamon aroma making this foie almost more of a dessert than an appetizer. A roast breast of pheasant is magnificent when accompanied by a thick, brilliant green sweetpea puree, with a touch of bacon providing a satisfying smokiness.

Admirable, too – though not quite perfect – is the aforementioned svíčková. This well-known Czech dish is frequently bastardized by pubs, who tend to use runny, cream-heavy sauces and beef that most certainly isn´t sirloin. Patriot-X does svíčková the way it was meant to be: tender, well-marinated beef sirloin (unfortunately, a touch too well-done) in a dense, mustard-yellow sauce rich with carrot and celery root. The essential cranberry accompaniment is tucked away inside the dumplings – a fine idea, but one which dulls the berries´ intensity just a little too much for my taste. The sauce, though, is simply fabulous, and enough reason on its own to try the dish.


The goat cheese salad is more original than most versions, too – it´s dotted with caramelized walnuts, and the lightly fried cheese, which apparently hails from an organic farm, is exceptional. But the walnut oil dressing is just that: walnut oil, with no apparent vinegar for counter-balance, making for a waste of an otherwise fine salad. A chocolate mousse and marzipan dessert is disappointing, too, with the mousse low on flavour and the marzipan almost too tough to eat. But a pleasant surprise comes in the form of a red wine sorbet, a refreshing ender to a cream- and meat-heavy meal.

Were food the only criteria, I´d recommend Patriot-X heartily. But service and atmosphere count for something too, and here, unfortunately, they don´t add many points at all. The restaurant´s interior is completely without concept or consistency: garish red walls and unattractive wood paneling clash with vaulted stone ceilings, and a bizarre selection of lamps – some old-fashioned, some in modern IKEA style – illuminate the dining area. The artwork, a graphic series depicting caricatures of famous artists, would look better in a jazz club. And then there are some real oddities – a fishless fish tank filled with shells, two enormous, hideous air conditioning units in plain sight, indoor palm trees. It´s eclectic, but not charming. Throw in a waiter who managed to clear every one of our plates separately but disappeared when it was time for the check, and you´ve got a fairly wearying dining experience on your hands.

In the midst of all this, I almost feel sorry for the food. The menu isn´t going to vault Czech cuisine up to the gastronomic stratosphere, but in some instances at least, it´s a little something different, and delicious too. The food deserves more – and so does the customer.

V Celnici 3
Prague 1
Tel : 224 235 158
Hours: Mon – Fri 8:00 – 24:00, Sat – Sun 10:00 – 24:00

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