Saturday, March 14, 2009

Don Pablos:

Last week, after learning that our first choice, Teller’s, had a 45 minute wait, we hopped back in the car in search of other dinner plans.

There was only one problem. We didn’t have a backup choice. We ended up in the Rookwood Commons parking lot, where David informed me he would drive around in circles until I decided where I wanted to go.

The low fuel light lit up on the dash right about then. I have a terrible phobia about running out of gas. I now had a ticking clock I had to pick something! Something close.

Which is how we ended up at Don Pablos.

I have not been to Don Pablos in about two years, and never have been to one of the few remaining locations open, the Rookwood commons location.

I didn’t realize how big it was inside. Located in the old Leblond Machine Tool Factory, the high ceilings and neon lights kind of remind me of the Luxor in Vegas.

We still had about a ten minute wait, and we sat at the bar and ordered some drinks to occupy ourselves. David chose a Dos Equis, which he is starting to prefer with Mexican food, and I was drawn to the “slenderita”, a margarita with fresh lime and orange juice, reposado tequila, and a lot of splenda packets.

My slenderita actually wasn’t bad—and I don’t even like tequila that much.

We were led to our table and brought the chips and salsa.

I liked the salsa, it had a nice spicy kick. Some of the chips stuck together, which David enjoyed.

Maximum Cronchage!

David chose a combo as his entrée, the El Matador platter, with two enchiladas, one taco, a few flautas (which we thought were more like tacquitos), rice, queso and a side of refried beans.

I wasn’t really that hungry, so I chose the dip sampler, with Prairie fire bean dip, regular queso, queso blanco, and guacamole.

I thought the guacamole was very good—not a lot of onion, which is one of my usual complaints. Queso blanco was the best thing in the sampler, the regular queso was pretty boring and the Prairie fire bean dip was also a little bland for us. I began dipping my chips in a variety of different sauces to try all the combinations I could in the hopes of discovering a delicious dip platter hybrid. No luck.

I’d say the major plus about this Don Pablos is its size. It works great for office parties and large groups, and is tame enough that even someone that doesn’t like Mexican shouldn’t be worried.

Don Pablo's on Urbanspoon


  1. Two things.

    First, after running out of gas in the middle of an intersection at rush hour last year, I top off my tank religiously every Friday... so I was amused by your "fear."

    Second, In my fantasy world, I would like to see the corporate boards of chain restaurants rounded up and subjected to some sort of vicious dystopian Show Trial, but, in these fantasies, the owners of Don Pablo's are always found innocent. I really do have a soft spot for that place. :)


  2. I hope it never happens. I'll probably start to cry. It's only topped by my fear of bees. and wasps. and hornets. and steelers fans.

  3. I grew up in LA and was always told the sign of a great, authentic Mexican restaurant is their Chili Rellanos. Well, this Don Pablos is no El Cholo, but it does have a surprisingly terrific Chili Relleno--a huge, authentic fire roasted poplano with just the right amount of cheese stuffing, light egg coating, and gentle frying. I love Mexican restuarants and this Don Pablos, partly because of its setting, is a worthy place to dine.


I try to be honest, fair and keep a good sense of humor in my posts--I would appreciate if you follow the same policy with your comments.