Diablo and Sons is so painstakingly and impeccably decorated that when you push through its plush leather door, you might think you’ve stumbled onto a Hollywood set. Except there are no cameras and no actors. It’s just your friends eating tacos and drinking.
Boise’s newest saloon is the spitting image of an Old West establishment, from the reclaimed wood bar to the corrugated awning, but with 39 beverages on tap and tacos on deck, it’s more than a lesson in renovation.
Two parts taco bar, one part brewpub, the menu offers a la carte tacos alongside hearty entrees, salads and sides. Diners will appreciate the fruity, cheesy detours, but at its core, Diablo and Sons is an ode to the fire-roasted pepper. A vast array of lagers, ales, ciders, wines and cocktails spirit you through the impressive flame-grilled flavors.
The food here isn’t incredibly spicy, but if your friend tears up when exposed to a bell pepper, steer them into Bittercreek next door.
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Pair a crisp lager with the blistered skirt steak taco ($3.50), which culls striking, spicy notes from roasted poblanos and red chimichurri. Match a Meriwether cider with the rich chile strip taco ($2.75), swaddled in manchego and chile double cream. Or saddle up for my favorite taco, angels on horseback ($4.00), a corn tortilla filled with bacon, charred cabbage, lemon drop mayonnaise and a fried oyster — and don’t forget to hit that beauty with a squeeze of lemon.
The Cowboy Pork Chop ($19), accompanied by charred pineapple and jalapeno relish, is a choice companion for a malty ale.
And don’t leave without trying a tamale ($2.75 each), which you’re supposed to eat covered in hot sauce and stacked atop a cracker. The saltine is an unexpected but effective counter to the punchy hot sauce.
The saloon is still ramping up operations, and not everything on the menu is available yet. I await the ice cream taco ($3.75) with bated breath.
You might balk at a $4 taco, but these are heftier than your average street taco. And the prices are comparable to, if not cheaper than, nearby taquerias.
The atmosphere inside Diablo and Sons is boisterous by design. There are no reservations, and no wait list. The restaurant is seat-yourself. This policy keeps things casual, but at times the place succumbs to a high-stakes game of musical chairs. Prospective diners swirl around you while you eat, waiting to pounce.
The saloon is cozy in the winter, but it is built to thrive in the summer. Someday, far in the future, when the endless inversion of winter has passed, the garage doors around the room will open up, lager enthusiasts will flock to the stylish outdoor bar, and the citizens of Boise will demolish taco after taco on one of the best patios in town.
Diablo and Sons
Address: 246 8th Street, Boise, Idaho
Hours: 5 p.m. until around midnight Sunday thru Thursday, 5 p.m. until late Friday and Saturday. Kitchen closes at 10 p.m. weekdays, 10:30 p.m. weekends; open for lunch at 11 a.m. Wednesday-Sunday starting Wednesday, Dec. 12. Sunday brunch coming soon as well.
Reservations: None taken or needed.
Menu price range: Starters and salads $4-$11.75; tacos $2.75-$4; main courses $7.75-$25.
Libation situation: Cider, kombucha and beer on tap, wine by the glass and bottle, cocktails $8-$13
Opened: October 2018