If you like Don Pablos, you'll like Carlos O'Kelly's.
Coming from Texas, I far prefer Tex Mex to the bland, unattractive "authentic" Mexican food style. And while places like Don Pablo's and Carlos O'Kelly's claim to have "authentic" Mexican food - they don't. It's Tex Mex. And God bless them. After trying four different "authentic" Mexican food places around here, only to find their notion of fajitas is chicken chitlins that have been pushed around in a frying pan with some tomato-based sauce in a freakish imitation of stir-fry, I was despairing that my TexMex addiction was to be denied for my entire tenure here in IL. My last-ditch effort was Carlos O'Kelly's, which I had been very closed-minded about and avoided just because the name was comical to me. Silly, silly me. When I opened up the menu and saw a picture of their chicken fajitas - wonderful, grilled strips of breast meat - I got pretty excited. I got the Chicken Picado, which is chicken fajitas diced up and mixed with tomatoes and other yummy things I can't recall in a creamy garlic sauce, and found a new favorite to add to my list of fave TexMex dishes. It's a generous portion, and I always end up taking half of it home with me to have another meal later - which I really like because I feel like you get more for your money.
Their salsa is a bit on the thin side, but has good flavor, if little to no heat (spicy heat, that is). We tried their Diablo sauce, I think it's called, but didn't like it at all. It was about as hot as I'm used to regular salsa being, but the flavor just wasn't very good. It was no great loss, though, because we like their regular salsa just fine. Their chips could stand to be less salty, and they're pretty grainy as well - sort of a weird texture I'm not used to, but it's definitely not something to avoid the restaurant over. The queso is good, and it's really good with the addition of taco meat. Since we discovered Carlos O'Kelly's, it's the only place we go when we go out to eat now. Their staff is great too!
Mediocre Mexican food. Very average Mexican food. Atmosphere was cheezy and chainlike. Service and drinks were good though. Just the food was bland. Typical chain americanized mexican joint.
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