Despite instant crowds and an Oscar-worthy physical transformation, this Mexican restaurant (formerly the barren West 10th Street Eatery) falls far short of its box-office promise. The slim, awkward space channels Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn with demonic red walls and votive-lit charred wood beams. Mexican is this season’s Japanese—snazzy new joints have flooded Manhattan—and tacos are the main event here, available in mix-n-match twos and threes. Though they sound enticing enough, the fillings ranged from merely generic to totally bland: bulging chewy steak, flavorless tuna, slippery shrimp. The restaurant can’t quite decide whether it wants to be a frozen-margarita-swilling fiesta spot or something more serious, hawking somewhat more complex entrées like chicken in pumpkin-seed sauce and mamocho, a pork-crackling spread. The “choco taco,” a gooey ice-cream mess, was plenty of fun. The orange-saturated barbecued pork, a stringy heap on hockey puck rolls, was not.
|Venue name:||Diablo Royale|
189 W 10th Street
|Cross street:||between W 4th and Bleecker Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 5:30pm–2am; Sun 5:30pm–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq|
|Price:||Average main course: $17 (three tacos, $20). AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V|