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The Low Carb Connoisseur


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Restaurant Reviews
Back to Main Restaurant Reviews Menu                                         


Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen                      
Livin Fajita Loca!                  

Don Pablo's There's little doubt that the low carb craze has hit the restaurant business in a big way. From mom-and-pop local shops across the country, to some of the nation's biggest chains, low-carb's where it's at.

One of the largest eateries to weigh in is Don Pablo's... a Mexican restaurant chain based in Madison, Georgia (owned by Avado Brands) who currently operate 109 locations in 19 states.

On Wednesday, October 15th, two days after the launch of their low carb menu, our team of Low Carb Luxury Sr. Staff members dined at the Don Pablo's on Olentangy River Road in Columbus, Ohio.

All in all, we had a pretty pleasant restaurant experience. Each table was adorned with cards that told of the new low carb choices, and various signs told of their "Lo-Carbarita" (low carb Margarita.)

Don Pablo's did not have the large selection of low carb fare that some of the other chains have brought to their menus, but what they offer is plentiful in portions and accurate in carb counts. Your choices are mainly their new Low-Carb Fajitas: Lettuce Wrapped Fajitas in their new South Beach Sauce. They offer Smoked Chicken, Mahi-Mahi, or Black Angus Sirloin served sizzlin hot on a bed of low carb veggies; yellow squash, zucchini, button mushrooms and asparagus.

Don Pablo's And of course to wash it down, their Lo-Carbarita, the low-carb version of Don's Real Margarita. It's fresh squeezed lime juice, Don's new Low-Carb Margarita mix and a shot of Gold Tequilla. You can get it hand-shaken or frozen and it only has 1.5 net carbs. The margarita mix is actually Baja Bob's brand... a familiar name to long time low carb dieters.

There are actually quite a large number of other options on the menu that can be easily tailored to low carb. For instance, Don offers a T-Bone steak cooked Mexican style and served with vegetables of your choice (just don't make it the potato!) They also offer a great mesquite-grilled chicken breast dinner, as well as salad options. And from the bar, you can grab a Michelob Ultra too!

Don Pablo's Our waiter was surprisingly knowledgeable about the new menu and what he didn't know, he spoke to management about. Even at the very debut of their new low carb fare, they were seeing a great deal of interest from a large percentage of their clientele.

Between the five of us, we ordered all of the possible options.

We were largely pleased, though I ended up asking them to bring me the onions and peppers that usually come with the fajitas instead of the yellow squash, zucchini, and asparagus. I felt the onions and peppers were only slightly higher in carbs (mainly from the onion) and that they lent a more credible fajita taste. Not everyone in our party agreed... some thought the asparagus was a great touch. So it's clearly a personal preference thing.

Don Pablo's Portions were large, and the lettuce for wrapping was crisp and fresh.

In terms of total carbs, the Low Carb Fajita with Smoked Chicken weighs in with 18 carbs per serving and includes a Mesquite-grilled, smoked chicken breast served on a bed of seasoned, grilled and fire-roasted vegetables with fresh Lettuce Wraps, sour cream, fresh cilantro, combo cheese and Don Pablo’s original South Beach sauce.

The Low Carb Mahi Mahi and grilled Black Angus Sirloin fajitas are served with the same vegetables, sauces and cheeses as the low carb chicken fajita, and they both weigh in at 15 carbs per serving.

Don Pablo’s restaurants are located in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

We commend Don Pablo's for their forward thinking!

         Lora and Neil

Review content copyright © January 2004  Lora Ruffner and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo and some inset food photos copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury

Don Pablo's name is a copyright © of Avado Brands.
Promotional images copyright © Don Pablo's Inc, and Avado Brands, Hancock at Washington,
Madison, GA 30650.



      Don Pablo's Low Carb Mahi Mahi Fajitas

This Low Carb fajita features white, mild and flaky Mahi Mahi served on a bed of our seasoned and grilled, fire-roasted, fresh vegetables that are naturally low in carbs, including yellow squash, zucchini, button mushrooms and asparagus.

The fajitas are served with our special lettuce wraps, sour cream, fresh cilantro, our combo cheese and secret South Beach sauce.
    Mahi Mahi
  • Two 4-oz. Mahi Mahi fillets
  • 4 shakes Jalisco Seasoning
  • 1 shake Kosher Salt
  • 5 oz. grilled fresh vegetables
    (squash, zucchini, buttom mushrooms and asparagus.)
  • 2 oz. South Beach Sauce
    (a mixture of salsa, sour cream and ancho chilies)
  • 4 each Cilantro Sprigs
  • 1 oz Sour Cream
  • Fresh Lettuce Leaves for Wraps
Oil and lightly season two 4 oz. Mahi Mahi fillets. Sprinkle with special Jalisco seasoning and Kosher Salt, using about four shakes of the Jalisco seasoning and one shake of the Kosher salt on each fillet. (Jalisco seasoning is similar to McCormick's Grill Seasoning found in the grocery.)

Place the fillets on a blackening skillet for 2 minutes. Turn the mahi fillets over and continue cooking another 2 minutes on the other side.

Use 5 ounces of fresh, grilled low carb vegetables, including: including a combination of yellow squash, zucchini, button mushrooms and asparagus. First we slice the squash and zucchini horizontally, lightly oil all of veggies and grill lightly until you get grill marks on both sides. Cut the veggies in 1/2-inch cubes and season.

Place the fire roasted, grilled veggies evenly across the left center portion of a hot skillet opposite the handle. (You can also use a dinner plate.) Place the Mahi Mahi on a cutting board and slice it into four to five slices per fillet. Place the fillet on the top center portion of the veggies and top with fresh Cilantro sprigs.

Instead of using a flour tortilla, use Low Carb Lettuce Wraps. Take a head of lettuce, remove the stem, and cut the lettuce evenly in half. Carefully remove the yellow leaves. Separate the remaining leaves and trim the uneven ones. Use the Lettuce Wraps the same way that you'd use a flour tortilla.

Makes 1 wrap.   15 grams effective carbohydrate per serving.



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