El Diablo lives up to its name -- even before opening

El Diablo may be the most appropriate name ever for a restaurant. Jesse Morreale, who took on the massive project of renovating the old First Avenue Hotel at First and Broadway, turning the front area into a restaurant he named El Diablo (an adjacent portion is already Sketch), was in the space early on June 5, when a devilish accident landed him in Denver Health with head injuries.

Ten days later, Morreale is steadily improving, and El Diablo is still on track to open in a month or so, according to partner (and chef) Sean Yontz.

"We haven't been delayed from the last time Jesse and I sat down and talked," Yontz said Monday. "We're moving forward. The staff has been hired, we started training last week, and we have five more days this week. We're pushing final inspections back until next week, and we'll start cooking after final inspections."

And what will they be cooking? Not the dishes that Yontz made at Chama, or even the current lineup at Tambien, Morreale's restaurant in Cherry Creek. "The menu is where it needs to be right now," Yontz said. "It's not fine dining by any means, not modern Mexican by any means. It's very traditional, with stuff you don't see a lot in Mexican restaurants right now." There will also be a special taco menu, he promised, with lamb barbacoa, pork belly and tongue tacos, as well as many homemade salsas.

The devil you say!

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