El Diablo

 

 

Having heard the same buzz as many Denver folks about the ‘new tequila bar’ on Broadway, my husband and I decided to give this local eatery a go.  We went on a Friday night, without reservations, just passed high dinner hour.  The host informed us that there would be a 30 minute wait, which seemed reasonable as the place was packed, and they would come find us at the bar when a table opened up.  

The interior

 

 A couple of corner seats later, we were ordering a round of drinks from their specialty cocktail menu.  The drinks were interesting and flavorful, although the bartender was not well versed in the menu options which led to a lot of pointing whilst holding a candle for extra light (note the very dark pictures!) and yelling over the intense noise. 

Some sort of Martini with Jalapeno. Really great!

 

After our 30 minutes was up, we checked in with the hostess as we noticed there were a number of open tables.  We were told we would be seated next, which apparently means never because another 20 minutes passed without anyone being sat.  We finally gave in and just ordered food at the bar, not wanting to wait any longer!  (Side Note: I understand rotating tables to servers, but this was ridiculous.  There were a lot of people waiting for a table and for several open tables to be left empty for 20 minutes is ludicrous.  Bad managers!  BAD!) 

Being famished at this point we decided that a mere entrée would not suffice, so we gave in and ordered a round of the Sopes, which is  a crispy corn masa filled with chorizo, black beans, avocado, queso and crema.  Although the description of masa makes this dish sound unique, it is truly just a corn tortilla and could easily be called by its more common name: a tostada.  Because that is exactly what it was.  Masa, which is a cornmeal dough commonly used in tortillas and tamales, was overly rubbery here making it very difficult to cut, but too flexible to pick up and eat.  Flavorful?  Yes.  A reorder item?  Likely.  Pretentious description and difficult to eat?  Absolutely! 

Sopes (AKA Tostada)

 

For our entrée selections we went with the recommendations of the bartender (yes, this is a common theme in our ordering practices).  The husband went with Tampiqueña; a grilled skirt steak served with a cheese enchilada with mole sauce, green onions, rice and black beans.  

A tough piece of Tampiqueña

 

This particular cut of meat is not known for its tenderness and is made only worse when over cooked.  In general the flavors were good (you don’t find mole sauce just anywhere!), but the dish was found to be lacking.  For $15 dollars at a Mexican restaurant, one would expect the food to be of better quality and of a healthier portion size. 

I opted to go with the other recommendation of Enchiladas con Carne.  I was excited to try the beef cheeks, spinach and potato variation of this usually ‘common’ dish.  The beef cheek enchiladas were placed on a red sauce (Pipian rojo). topped with the spinach and potato and then drizzled which liquid queso.  The flavors really were great, but again I was disappointed with the portion to price ratio.  The two, read that TWO not the typical THREE, enchiladas were made with traditional corn tortillas, which although far better tasting are generally known to be on the small side compared with their flour based cousins.  I was left without the full belly one might expect for the $10 price tag. 

Enchiladas Con Carne

 

Generally speaking, I would not recommend this establishment to anyone that cares about the following restaurant criteria: 

–          Being seated in a timely manner (FAIL) 

–          Being able to speak with their dining partners (FAIL) 

–          Reasonable portion to price ratio (FAIL) 

–          Correctly cooked meat (FAIL) 

I finished my experience at El Diablos feeling entirely unsatisfied and underwhelmed.  I would only recommend this place as a happy restaurant.  Only get the appetizers.  They seem worth the price and wait! 

BASIC INFO 

Cuisine: Mexican 

Restaurant Features: Handicap Accessible, Outdoor Seating, Reservations 

Location/Phone: 101 Broadway Denver, CO 80203 / (303) 954-0324 

Hours:   Mon-Fri  11AM – 2AM
                Sat-Sun  10AM – 2AM
                Kitchen Closes @ 1AM
                Mexican Street food takeout until 4AM (I KNOW…How does that work when the kitchen is closed at 1AM?) 

Website: http://www.eldiablorestaurant.com/ 

El Diablo on Urbanspoon

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