December 8, 2012 by grub like a girl
I’ve been lucky enough to snag a little gig writing food reviews over at GayRVA.com.
Check out my recent trip to Tio Pablo …
I’ve found Mexican food to be a dishonor in Richmond. As a native Texan, Mexican food was traditional fare – no bells, whistles, or table-side-guacamole (I still have yet to understand this). It was real, it was good, and it was concise.
Moving to Richmond, I discovered “Mexican restaurants” happily serving pre-made tortillas, “ranchero” sauce resembling Prego in every possible way, and over-hyped entrees slathered with white cheese sauce. Too bad my lady (born and raised in RVA) grew up thinking this was actually good. Shame.
I was relieved to hear Millie’s owners opened a quaint Taqueria-inspired joint over in Shockoe Bottom early this year.
The colorful spray paint that adorns the exterior of Tio Pablo could make you second guess whether you’re walking into an eclectic restaurant or a tattoo shop. Maybe it’s the Spanish music blaring outside that’ll give reassurance you’re here to eat, not get inked (too clever?).
Inside, I found the decor whimsical, quirky, and also industrial. By the bar, a dismembered baby doll rests on top of longhorns and Day of the Dead-like masks dot the wall above the kitchen window. Corrugated lines parts of walls and the place still holds true to its original space with exposed brick walls. It’s almost like Frida Kahlo gave modern design a whirl. In the middle of the small dining space sits a large communal table, the adjacent walls house long counter style tables with glossy red bar stools. There are a few private tables if you’re lucky enough to snag one (or maybe you like the community table feel).
After being seated … to finish the review click here.