Typically, never. As long as the food is good, the atmosphere swell and the price just right, upscale dining has a place in our dining culture. I also believe that any food type can use an upscale slant. I don't care if it's Italian, German, Indian... even Mexican, upscale eateries provide something different. Something good.
Except when upscale is not really upscale. That seems to be the initial problem with El Patron Cocina & Bar (http://elpatronkcmo.com/). This relatively new Mexican place is nestled along one of my favorite Boulevards (2905 S.W. Blvd, KC, MO) in America. Yes, all of America. The great flavors coupled with vibrant diversity makes this area one of my favorites.
El Patron has seemingly billed itself as more of an upscale Mexican joint as opposed to its neighbor across the street (I mean Boulevard), Ponak's. The problem is that is just isn't very upscale and it's food lacks the flair that would prompt someone to take a "step up" from its many Mexican Restaurant neighbors.
I've been there multiple times in a genuine effort to make El Patron one of my favorites. But it just hasn't delivered. On my last foray to this location I was greeted with the appetizing aroma of bleach as the manager (perhaps owner?) sloppily waved a mop around the tiny dining room floor. After a few smacks of the back of my bar stool by the mop wielding server (all without an apology or much less an acknowledgment of her accidental mop whackings) I was greeted by the bar server. As I was in the midst of Happy Hour I inquired about any specials. After the obligatory Mexican specials (meaning Margarita's and Mojitos) I asked about a simple beer special. Nope. No luck.
So I paid the $4.50 for my Dos Equis bottle and sought out some of that smelly stuff they give you to slap on your upper lip when you walk into a morgue to try and overcome the bleach smell.
I won't waste anymore space detailing the slightly overpriced, uninspiring food, but suffice it to say that the experience had me staring out the window longing for Ponak's.
In closing, the people at El Patron seem nice and they seem like they are trying hard to succeed. Unfortunately they are failing to establish a much needed niche for upscale Mexican in Kansas City (I may be the only one who truly misses Canyon Cafe on the Plaza). I wish them good luck. I also wish they could establish their identity. Upscale? Probably not.