Stacked on high in the Latin Quarter of Montreal is a BBQ joint named Diablos. During my time in Montreal I went here twice; once with LJ and once again with friends from the conference, and I have combined my review here together.
LJ and I went here first, and boy were we confused about the location. I mean we found the address and 2 big signs out front, but there is a patio restaurant, a basement bar, and 2 on the second level. We figured it wasn't the patio based on the non-bbq they were serving. So we tried the lower tavern. It was empty, and nobody (not even a bartender was in sight). Finally a waitress came by, and we asked if it was Diablos, and she said no upstairs. Then we saw the red railing that matched the red sign, so we missed that visual cue.
Diablo's was also empty. We were taken by the waitress through the main restaurant/bar to the back patio, which only had one group sitting at it. When I returned a few nights later for my second visit, there were a few more people, but it was still pretty empty.
The back patio was awesome for a summer day: shady, with a breeze, but sun and a nice atmosphere. The place has that BBQ/barn aesthetic, and the waitstaff all have that alternative, tattoos piercing look. On both visits out waitresses were un-rushed, but friendly. It's a very chill vibe around here.
LJ and I went on a BBQ buffet extravaganza where we shared lots.
LJ's combo was pork and beef ribs, fries and sweet potato fries and cornbread.
The beef ribs were a lot of fat and grisel and not a lot to eat. The pork ribs fared better being more tender and a bit of pull on the meat. Both sauces were pretty sweet and the meat was generously applied. The cornbread was ok - nothing special as were the shoestring fries.
I went with an appetizer platter, which had wings, but they were out, so they upped the rest of it.
The deep fried pickles were pretty good - cut as coins and battered with a crispy and what looked like it was seasoned but was actually quite plain. The Pulled Pork Sliders on cornbread were also pretty mild in flavour.
I was not a fan of the Emental Cheese Sticks; they were executed well, but I just didn't like the emental; it would not be my cheese of choice in a stick.
The Cajun shrimp was in the same batter as the pickles, and was quite plain, the shrimp a little tough, and a bit fishy for my liking.
Now the good news is that I came back a few days later with my buddies Dave and Scott and they had wings available.
Both Dave and I ordered a pound of wings each.
Now these were a large, meaty wing. Dave did not believe the waitress though when he asked if this was a pound, mainly because there were only about 5 or 6 wings in the basket - but I think it had to do with the size of these wings.
These were breaded, fried chicken. The seasoning had a nice Southern herb and spice taste, but it wasn't strong. The breading was nice and crisp, but the wings came out very greasy. While the wings were large, the meat was tough and difficult to rip apart and eat.
There are only three sauces to choose from: Hot, BBQ, and House Ranch. I had already had the BBQ on the ribs, so I went with their Hot. Sauce came on the side which preserves the crunchiness of the skin.
Just straight up Frank's out of a bottle. And it was cold. It did nothing for the wings. It was really disappointing.
FINAL SCORE: This seemed like a cool place to go. Unfortunately the food was not so cool. Things were either ok or not that great. The highlight was probably the deep fried pickles. The wings, like the rest of the offereings, all had such potential. The locals had reviewed this place pretty high online, but I think its because there is no other options for American style BBQ in the city that this is what seems good. 6.5/10
1693A St-Denis, Montreal QC
diablosbbq.com (website still not finished over 8 months later)