16 January 2008

Diablo Royale, 189 W. 10th St. (between Bleecker and W. 4th)

While at Starbucks sipping green tea, when I finally narrowed my selection of 18 restaurants down to two, I ended up opting for some Mexican over Asian fusion tapas last night around 18:30. Diablo Royale welcomed me in for dinner, embracing me with her warm heat, the glowing glass candles lit the entire way around the restaurant, her antler chandeliers and the aroma of tasty Mexican. While sitting at Starbucks, I really had no hunger whatsoever (hence the tapas idea), but once I stepped in that door, I couldn't shovel chips and salsa fast enough in my face to help defer the hunger.

The waitress came over and (easily) convinced my fellow foodie David and I into ordering appetizers, a round of margaritas and large main courses. Another (!) basket of chips and salsa found itself on our table, as we demolished the first faster than an illegal handbag vendor running from the cops. We rounded off our order with a raspberry margarita and a blood orange margarita. At $9-10 a drink and seeing how small the glasses were, I was très skeptical until I had the first sip, and ZING! The taste of pureed fresh raspberry and incredible top shelf tequila (not that Cuervo shit; those days are OVER) rolled over my tongue like the Wave pool used to be at Geauga Lake. (It's kinda lame how they have it now, the bunch of little waves. Although I admit it's probably safer; once when I was about 8 I was riding the "kahuna" wave in and a really fat woman landed on top of me and I couldn't get up for air. I think I just kicked a lot until I broke free, totally riding that killer instinct till the end. They don't call me The Killer for noth-okay, maybe they don't call me the Killer at all. Whatever.)

Soon after (but not soon enough, as within about five minutes of basket two of chips and salsa were placed on our table, they were cashed) the appetizer arrived - four mini cobs of grilled corn with lime mayo, cotija, and cayenne. I was hesitant because I just paid $6 for corn on the cob, but within one bite I was hooked. I gnawed off each so tender, so tasty kernel typewriter style, and the waiter had to pry the plate out from under me as I was attempting to lick the remnants of the seasonings up.

About 30 seconds later, the main course arrived - Al Pastor tacos (roasted pork and pineapple-pico-crema served on a flour tortilla) and adobo spare ribs (braised with chilie and Mexican honey and served with tostones). While perusing the menu earlier, I thought that the ribs would be the surefire winner, and they were definitely good - the meat was falling off of the bone! - but I thought the sauce was just okay, and frankly, the sauce makes the ribs. I'm really not one to overdo on sauce of any type - I barely put any salad dressing on my salad, I rarely use gravy, and I hate sugar in my tea (what the hell does that have to do with anything?!) and I think they overdid it. I was looking for more of a rub with a sauce on the side. The tostones that accompanied were pretty good although slightly salty (which I do like).

The tacos on the other hand - I mean, they had me at Hello, but the flavor was so complex I didn't even notice I had them dripping down my hand. The pork was ever so spicy, enough to not notice at first but to overwhelm your taste buds and inhibit anything else you taste for the next ten minutes or so (or at least until you refresh with some margarita). They could have put more pineapple crema nonsense on, but the tacos were overstuffed as is. An excellent dish.

We did not stick around for dessert, as I'm not really a dessert person...but the tab was pretty reasonable for two drinks, an appetizer and two main courses. Our waitress was very upbeat and knowledgeable, and extremely convincing (although I didn't put up much of a fight). The service was good, the decor and ambiance were notable.

I give this restaurant 4 rating forks.

Link to their site is here: http://www.diabloroyale.com/, menu on page.

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