Como se dice “bistro”?

Posted by Anita on 08.09.06 10:47 PM

DonPicos (c)2006 AECTonight, a combination of factors conspired to keep us out of the kitchen. I ended up working late yet again, leaving Cameron to cook solo… and then he realized that the grill had run out of propane. When the universe sends clear signals like this, we’ve learned to listen.

Cameron picked me up at Glen Park BART, and asked: “Mexican, Indian, or Ethiopian?”

To which I replied: “Duh!”

So, we hopped on 280 and pointed the car toward Don Pico’s.

Don Pico’s offers Mexican-food aficionados an interesting juxtaposition. On one hand, it’s an old-school “plate food” restaurante of the SoCal style, serving up combination platos and cold beers. But it also has aspirations to upscale-ness, calling itself a “Mexican bistro,” sporting spruced-up decor straight out of Trading Spaces, and adding daily specials like butternut squash tamales to the usual cheesy fare.

Our friends Andrew & Kathy turned us on to the charms of the Don late last year, and since then we’ve eaten here every couple of weeks. The kitchen always dishes up comida that’s solid, if a bit under-spiced. Service ranges from really great — as it was tonight — to downright spacey; eventually, we always get fed.

I toyed with ordering the chilaquiles (if only for the comedic effect of having the same meal for breakfast and dinner), but settled on my prototypical cheesy combo: A chicken taco, and a cheese enchilada. As always, it was good, in a baaad way. Cameron took the chef’s advice and opted for the amusingly named Mexican Jambalaya, and was rewarded by an interesting riff on the old bayou classic, with chorizo taking the place of andouille, and bell-pepper strips standing in for okra.

My biggest Don Pico’s gripe — other than the fact that they are closed on Sundays and Mondays — is their lack of full bar, so díos only knows what foul tequila substitute goes into their margaritas. Luckily, they have plenty of cold Negra Modelo ready for me.

(Oh, and if you’re a fan of karaoke-style lounge acts, you’ll love it here on weeknights. Don’t say you weren’t warned…)

Don Pico’s Original Mexican Bistro
461 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066

Mexican, restaurants
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