If you’re looking for Southern comfort food, stop in at Diablos BBQ, hidden amongst Montreal’s iconic spiral staircases on St. Denis. It’s a little bit of New Orleans in the Latin Quarter. We ate almost everything on the menu and before you judge us, the menu in May 2012 was limited. According to our waitress, the menu was being revamped and re-launched in June. Let’s start with the drinks, which have fun, creative names like the Shark Attack, Cowgirl’s Prayer and Rick’s Savannah, a tea which really packs a punch. And they’re served in mason jars, complete with an umbrella, which adds to the rustic feel of the restaurant. As an aside, the restaurant did feel more like a biker bar than a Southern restaurant. They may have to work on their décor.
We started with appetizers and the jalapeno poppers which came two to an order. It might sound like a flimsy amount but the poppers were enormous! Definitely enough for 3 people to share and even a fourth. The cheese inside was oozing out as you cut into the pepper and delicious. It’s worth ordering. If you fear spicy food rest assured that these jalapenos could have been a lot worse and we cringed before taking our first bite.
Next, we decided to jump right in and get a little of everything so the “Dixie Enormous” was for us. This is what you order when everything on the menu looks too good to be left in the kitchen. It’s enough for two people to share and we divvied it up in three. Each menu item came with a choice of two side dishes so we also had the potato salad, jalapeno and cheese cornbread and coleslaw.
Before making you jealous with the main dish, let’s get the sides out of the way, as they were nothing special. The potato salad was plain. Since we’re in a Southern restaurant, we expected more especially since it’s a fairly inexpensive dish to make and can be easily improved by adding ham, bacon, eggs, etc. The cornbread fell short in the taste department though it had a crumbly texture and was very light. Maybe if it was served warm the flavours would have stood out more.
Now, for the main attraction, the Dixie Normous. It came with a ½ rack of pork ribs, pulled pork and a ¼ fried chicken. The ribs are worth ordering all on their own. And if you like ribs, do yourself a favour and order the full rack. They fall off the bone and have just enough sauce to taste the meat but not too much so that it feels like you’re just eating a saucy bone. And yes, you’re going to get your hands dirty!
The pulled pork was tangy, sweet and moist. It was great paired with the cornbread which absorbed the sauce and took away some of our disappointment with the cornbread.
Hands down, the deep fried chicken was the best part of the dish. Moist and juicy chicken with a ridiculously crispy crust which was not at all greasy. And we were not ashamed to ask our waitress if we could get just a side dish of the crispy skin.
As a second main we then ordered the mac and cheese but it was missing some things – salt for starters (maybe opting for the Blue Mac and Cheese would have taken care of this) and more cheese. It left us disappointed because this is a dish we almost always order from a menu and, again, being in a Southern-type restaurant, your expectations are rather high.
To balance out the amount of meat that we ate, we decided to order the watermelon salad. It was refreshing and topped with creamy blue cheese, crunchy pecans and littered with spicy arugula leaves. The combination was very good, the salad large and the arugula fresh.
No Southern meal is complete without dessert and how do you say no to homemade Bourbon Pecan Pie?! The restaurant has this pie made for them by a friend whom we were told had delivered the pie during our meal. So it’s legit. It was still warm when the slice arrived at our table and you can tell it’s homemade. Definitely worth getting if there’s any left and it can also be served with a scoop of ice cream.
So if you’re looking for deep-down and dirty good Southern food, head over to Diablo’s BBQ and taste the New Orleans experience in the heart of Montreal’s Latin Quarter. It wasn’t that we didn’t like it, it just wasn’t Diva Thursdays material…
Our Rating: Meh!