I’d seen this name pop up a couple of times when I would search for food around my workplace, so I figured I’d need to try it. I also had to check and make sure it wasn’t a shortened version of Don Pablo’s, which I’m not a huge fan of. And I also knew I had to go when the boss was off work, so I could take some liberties with the lunch “hour” since Shakopee is basically another country away.
Even with all the time zone changes, I still made pretty good time and my GPS took me right to it. It’s in downtown Shakopee, so it’s by a lot of things. The restaurant is on the lower floor of what looks to be an apartment building, but it’s the entire lower floor, so it’s pretty darn big. It has two outside patios and also a full bar inside. It looked out of place, but you can’t judge from outside.
A pregnant hostess seated me in a corner (sometimes they do that when you’re alone so you can face the wall and not feel self-conscious – which I never do.)(Actually, maybe they do it so I don’t creepily stare at other diners – ha ha ha.) The menu had mostly standard far on it, but a couple of good looking combinations, so I went with the Choppo’s Feast. Two taquitos, an enchilada, and a tamale, served with beans. I asked if they had coke products, to which she replied, “yes, we have Coke products, but we also have Mt. Dew.” This place is already moving up the food rating ladder!
I studied some operations management material and munched on a delicious basket of chips. The good kind of chips with some texture, not the plain white ones. The salsa was also pretty good. Much better than average.
The food came out and I was pleasantly surprised. It looked really good (not all blurry like in the photo – I didn’t have any margaritas since at THIS job, I can’t drink on the clock).
The pork tamale was just average. Kind of dry and not a lot of meat inside. I had to cover it with the salsa to make it better. Not bad, just not anything to talk about. The carnitas enchilada was quite good, in fact. I’m not usually an enchilada guy, but this thing was tasty. He sauce was a deep red and had a more hearty flavor than a lot of the enchilada sauces I’ve had in Minnesota. They got this one right, I’m thinking. The chicken taquitos were the best part. I know it’s kind of difficult to make taquitos stick out in a crowd, but they really did. Usually the chicken is kind of flavorless and all you taste is “fried” (not that I’m complaining at ALL about that flavor), but these taquitos you could taste the chicken, the seasoning, AND the “fried”. Excellent.
On the Minnesota-adjusted ranking scale for Mexican food, I’d put this at a high 8. If I find a reason to go to Shakopee again, I’ll definitely see if I can find a reason to go back here. Maybe polish off a few margaritas and THEN rank it. ha ha ha.
Top 5 things about Pablo’s
1. Chicken taquitos
2. Carnitas enchilada
3. Chips and salsa
4. They have Dew
5. Preggo hostess was a good way to start lunch
Bottom 5 things
1. I feel guilty finding decent Mexican food now that Gerd isn’t here to enjoy it
2. It’s not even remotely within lunch-time driving distance from my office in Eden Prairie
3. Tamale was a bit dry and light on meat (twss)
4. I got stuck facing a wall (and still managed to get very little studying done)
5. I had issues with an ultra hot but spin-y plate. It wouldn’t stay still and I couldn’t hold it down (twss)