Fried chicken is fine and good, but it’s the grilled, Mexican-style chicken where the flavor is at. Don Carbon has been serving mesquite-grilled chicken and more since 2013. The small eatery and drive-thru feels like a modern, fast casual chain, but it’s locally owned and recently opened its third location (all three are on the West Side).
Their chicken is marinated in a secret blend of seasonings and can be ordered as a whole chicken or in increments of pieces, and for an additional charge, can be made as lemon pepper or tossed in buffalo sauce. Combos come with your choice of sides and a drink. Side options include a side green salad, creamy macaroni salad, Spanish-style rice, crispy french fries, charro beans simmered with chicharrones and weenies and a baked potato loaded with butter, sour cream and cheese. The best part is the tray of condiments served with your meal and the steamed corn tortillas that are uniquely square-shaped. You can load your chicken taco with jalapenos toreados, freshly made chunky green salsa, pickled red onions and a red salsa that tastes like chile de arbol salsa seasoned with lemon pepper. If you’re not into poultry, order up the beef fajitas or one of their Angus burgers, particularly the Hawaiian, a cheeseburger topped with a pineapple. They also serve quesadillas and queso fundido with your choice of chorizo, mushrooms or rajas (green chile strips).
A variety of desserts include tres leches cake, flan, chocoflan and custard-based house pies that can be ordered as guava, cream cheese or mango. Beverages include fountain drinks, glass-bottled sodas and bottled beers.
Don Carbón offers a balanced selection of healthy and cheat meal options that are customizable for dining alone or with a group. Here’s hoping their next location opens further east.
6215 Upper Valley Rd. (915-243-4065)
1050 Sunland Park Dr. (915-585-9000)
6351 South Desert Blvd. (915-234-2611)
Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., DonCarbonRestaurant.com, $4-$39, Vegetarian friendly (quesadilla, sides).