Friday night in the bottom and we were in the mood for something authentic. I remembered hearing a lot about this little place over by the 17th Street Farmer’s Market, called “Tio Pablo”. A taqueria and tequila bar by acclaimed owner of both Lulu’s and Millie’s, Paul Keevil. My husband and I both agreed a little fine tequila and tacos sounded mighty good!
Greeted by an eager but friendly staff, we chose a spot along the wall but close by the bar. Surrounded by lots of brick and, what appeared to be, lots of a reclaimed wood. Warm lighting sets an old style Catina vibe.
Draft menu has a couple of local brews, more in bottles. Wide selection of tequilas as you’d imagine. We started our evening with a Trés Agave flight, complete with a hurried education by a very enthusiastic sever.
My husband and I both order from “House Specialties” section of the menu. I chose the Carnitas plate, my husband the Carne Asada. To our disappointment the taqueria was out of guacamole for the evening, which was one of the sides that we were both looking forward to trying. Hmmm. With another quick look at the menu we each decided on our 2 sides. Grilled red onions were simple and flavorful. Fried potatoes packed a rich spiciness cutting the creaminess of the potato. My husband enjoyed both his black beans and rice. The Carnitas was moist and perfectly “pull-able”. Full of smokey flavor and served with warm tortillas. The Carne Asada fell a bit flat, over charred and quite gristly. However the grilled fennel was a fresh surprise.
We finish our meals and decide on a highly recommended (by aforementioned enthusiastic sever) margarita to end the meal. This was his twist on a traditional margarita using Gran Centenario Azul Resposado and Combier, an orange liquer.
It was a perfect end to the meal and left us on a good note. Both sweet and sour, the kick of the Resposado shined through with a smooth citrus finish.
All in all a pleasant meal and a place I ‘d like to try again soon, provided someone grabs a few pounds of avocados!
Check out Tio Pablo in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom, sits on Franklin between 17th and 18th Streets. Hope you enjoy it!