A Visit to Pablo y Pablo
Fun for the family as it would seem.
Best salsa ever.
This guacamole is amazing.
I don’t like them, I love them!
Those are the testimonials any restaurant wants to hear, and I wager the impact hits even harder when they come from a pair of kids – out of the mouth of babes, as the saying goes.
Pablo y Pablo, located in Seattle’s Fremont district, isn’t a kids’ restaurant but one gourmands of any age can enjoy. It’s a Mexican-inspired spot, sitting stylistically between The Heavy Restaurant Group’s Purple (American contemporary) and Barrio (Mexican). Not a bad seat and Heavy has an admirable trifecta going with these places.
To wit, the aforementioned chips, salsa, and guacamole deserve their praise. Particularly the avocado dip hit home with a crisp tinge of lime and just an ever-so-spicy kick. It suitably pairs with the chips, which have a similar citric undercurrent. The fresh, thick salsa completes the grouping on a high note.
I tried the chilaquiles, as one is wont to do for brunch, and good they were. The eggs came served over easy, covering a generous portion of carnitas and tortilla chips. The latter contributed more than just an extra bite, and its lightly salted coating melded well with the meat. Admittedly, the carnitas might not have been the most flavorful I’ve ever had, but my bar is perhaps set unfairly high for braised pork of any sort. Consistency wise they still played a comfortable dulcet second fiddle.
The green salsa – spicier than the one served with the chips – closed out the flavor melody satisfactorily. Chilaquiles are heavy by design, but Pablo y Pablo added a substantial freshness to them. I’d have them again.
For a lighter dish, Purple’s chopped salad has taken on a second incarnation in a Mexican form at Pablo y Pablo. It’s not entirely a one-to-one comparison, but for the record:
Pablo y Pablo: Romaine
Pablo y Pablo: Kale
Pablo y Pablo: Cotija
Pablo y Pablo: Chickpeas
Purple: Boiled egg
Pablo y Pablo: Pork Ibérico chorizo
Pablo y Pablo: Peppers
Pablo y Pablo: Avocado
Pablo y Pablo: Red onion
Purple: Red onion
Pablo y Pablo: Spiced pepitas
Purple: Cherry tomato
Pablo y Pablo: Oregano vinaigrette
Purple: Shallot vinaigrette
We substituted chorizo with the vegan kind, which, I gotta say, did the job just splendidly. A spicy addition to an otherwise refreshing plate.
Finally, the sweets are worth a go: the hot chocolate is not too sweet, and the churros just lightly fried. I can respect the restraints.
Pablo y Pablo is located in Tableau Software’s office building which is probably a fitting spot. It’s the type of restaurant well suited for power lunches and happy hours, with its accessible and varied menu. As a brunch place? It passes with flying colors. Equally, it hits home with those of a younger vintage – the Spanish rice also received praise – so Heavy evidently did something right with its Fremont spot.
And the name?
The two Pablos referenced are artists Pablo Picasso and Pablo Neruda. If you’re going to name yourself after any Pablo, you might as well go with the best.