Posted: August 27, 2010 9:55 AM
After two-and-a-half years, El Diablo finally opened its doors last week. And it's packed. On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the restaurant was on a wait of 90 minutes. (That's code for "make reservations.")
The space, which co-owner Jesse Morreale calls Mexican tavern meets American-Mexican joint, is cozy and detail-oriented. The murals---many of which are replicas of Diego Rivera
's paintings---ironwork, and San Gabriel altar feel authentic instead of kitschy. The design also makes a potentially cavernous space (400 seats!) seem intimate and warm.
Best of all, though, is the food. The menu is enormous: With 15 salsas (made daily) and more than 60 dishes ranging from tacos and entrées to tortas and desserts, this is chef and co-owner Sean Yontz's largest undertaking to date. The onion soup (essentially a Mexican version of French onion soup) and the tacos are especially praise-worthy.
Of the dozen tacos to choose from, we tried three---and cleaned our plates.
The earthy rajas de poblano (roasted poblano peppers, onion, oregano crema, and queso) is an inspired vegetarian option, while the tender cochinita pibil (achiote-roasted pork with green-bean escabèche and black beans) is just what you want in a street taco. The taco el diablo (crispy with cheese, ground beef, and sliced avocado) is Morreale's contribution. It's greasy, cheesy, and avocado-packed, which renders it perfect for late night.
And El Diablo does serve late. The full menu is available in the dining room until midnight, after which the kitchen will soon begin offering a to-go menu (mostly tacos, burritos, tortas, and tamales) via a takeout window on East First Avenue. That window will remain open until 4 a.m.
101 Broadway, 303-954-0324