I took my 88-year-old mother here for a weekday lunch, and a taste of "home." (She's a veteran of many a taqueria, after decades in southern Arizona.) Usually, when she visits, I take her over to some little place in "Chirilagua" or Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue. But we had never tried Don Pablo's -- and the prospect of easier parking and a shorter walk to the front door appealed to us.
Inside, the restaurant was brighter (compared to our usual Mount Vernon Ave haunts), attractively decorated, and with more space around the tables, as well. Service was friendly and prompt, and the delivered dishes were hot and attractive.
It's just that the food was . . . terrible. An overall gelatinous, viscous (even rubbery) quality to everything. Frijoles were soupy, presented in little bowls (minus a needed spoon). Rice was dry and dull. Cheese chile rellenos arrived without a cheese interior--but coated in a heavy sponge of batter. The tamale seemed more like a molded (and unseasoned) cornflour aspic. Mom indulged in a margarita, served up in in a tall tumbler, and tasting mostly of high fructose corn syrup.
It wouldn't rank among our worst restaurant experiences--but certainly, among our worst Mexican food.
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