Thursday, May 29, 2014

Don Gabriel

611 W Strasburg Rd.
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 431-3212

I was told West Chester had some great Mexican spots, so I thought I would start with the popular Don Gabriel. It's located in what was obviously a WAWA in it's former life.

It had all of the makings of a great spot. No frills seating, a small grocery store inside, and chips and salsa.

A kitchen with various pots of bubbling sauces and stews.

And fresh guacamole.

The guac was good. The chips were medicore. But they were not a show stopper. The salsas, while plentiful, all lacked acidity and salt.

The pork tamale was decent, nothing to write home about. Confusingly, I had a previously frozen sweet corn tamale sample at Trader Joe's recently that far surpassed this offering.

The sope was good, like a salad on a masa disc. I liked the cotija, but again, nothing was too impressive with this item.

I felt the taco trio would be a good way to try some of my favorite meat varieties. The chorizo was good, the barbacoa had all the trappings of good 'coa, but the chicken was extremely bland and dry. In addition, why were they served with lemon slices? The lime shortage?

The torta was the biggest winner of the group. I got the al pastor, and although the bread could have been better, it had all the necessary requirements. I would order this again, if I were ever forced back here.

Probably the biggest disappointment was the mole. It had a couple of whole pieces of chicken in a rather bland sauce, lacking the complexity and depth of traditional mole. I would pass next time.

I just didn't find anything to love at Don Gabriel, and ended up spending over $40 in disappointment. I have heard West Chester has great Mexican, so where is it?


Sherm said...

Man, I'm sorry you had a bad experience at Don Gabriel. I'm a big fan of their tacos and tortas, specifically lengua, barbacoa, al pastor and tinga. I've never really ventured too much into their dinner menu, though. They also serve a mean menudo on the weekends and make fresh aguas frescas and horchata on different days. There's another place on the other side of town called La Rancherita that seems like it would have better traditional "dishes." It's off Gay street, right past Adams in the Rita's shopping center.

hawk krall said...

Bummer. I was there a couple years ago and loved it, especially the chicken tinga, which was not dry at all that day.

Check out Kennett Square. La Pena was the best from what I remember. There's also a former gas station across the street that does tacos and bakes their own bread. The tacos were OK but maybe a good spot for tortas.

hawk krall said...

The gas station / bread place is Panaderia Y Tacqueria Morelos. Tacos not as good as Le Pena but worth a visit to check out the bread or a torta. There's also a bunch more spots out there.

Anonymous said...

La Rancherita is good but the best Mexican in the area is El Limon - tucked away in at the back of a little stip mall in Frazer just of Rt 30 business and Rt 352.

Their tostadas are the best I have ever had and their Mole Poblano is out of this world. Also recommend the barbacoa tacos.