POINTS SOUTH The steak tacos were our favorite entrée, but there are plenty of good choices here, even if they aren’t all “authentic” Southern food.
|Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen | 604 Columbus Avenue, Boston | 617.536.1100 | open Tuesday–wednesday, 5 pm–midnight; thursday–friday 5 pm–2 am; saturday, noon–2 am; and sunday 10 am — midnight | DI, MC, VI | Full bar | Valet parking, weekends | Access up one step from sidewalk level|
Never mind the juicy back story here — just order the "country fried chicken wings" ($10/eight wings; $14/12). They're juicy, too, as well as dry-fried, crisp, and impeccably seasoned, and as good as Bob the Chef's "glorified chicken" ever was. A Southern-food purist will be looking for gravy, but the lemon slice on the side was fine with me.
Or try a bowl of fish stew ($7) that just won't quit: garlic toast in a chowder-like broth of smoked sausage, seasonal corn, haddock, and major garlic. The "big bowl o' beets" ($8) is a good portion of chunked red and golden beets, and just enough Gorgonzola cheese to seal the deal.
Or, deep into small plates, the blackened tuna ($12), an excellent tuna tataki (sashimi-quality slices) with Cajun herbs blackened onto the outer crust, with a whole salad's worth of tomato/scallion/pepper salsa. Shredded scallion is the main garnish on this menu.
Our favorite entrée was steak tacos ($16/one person; $24/two; $32/three), based on tasty hanger steak sliced thin enough to go into a taco with your options of fresh guacamole, tomato salsa, and rice with black beans.
Off the sandwich menu — which, with the fish stew and the wings, is often available on the late-night (11 pm to 1 am) menu — I tried the "North Carolina–style pulled pork" with slaw ($10; add $2 for sweet-potato fries). Despite chef Tim Partridge's old connection to the East Coast Grill, this is not actually Carolina pulled pork with vinegar-pepper sauce. It is some kind of even-more-wonderful roast shreds of pork, nicely seasoned with salt and black pepper, and bunned up with regular coleslaw. It's really good, and so are the difficult sweet-potato fries ($6 as a side dish), which manage a degree of crispness without burning.
Jambalaya ($20) honors the soupier historic style of the dish, with peppery sausage, seasonally small mussels, excellent large shrimp, morsels of chicken breast, and fully cooked rice.
The drinks menu now includes cocktails, but we lucked into a glass of 2008 Fritz's riesling ($7/glass; $28/bottle). It is a tart German riesling with a semi-sweet finish and even a touch of oak. There is a real Fritz — Fritz Hasselbach — who inherited a vineyard and winery in Rheinhessen (a secondary region), and somehow figured out that few non-Germans would take the trouble to learn the intricate labeling system for German wines, and if they did, would mostly buy single-vineyard wines from other areas. In this, he may have been prompted by another branded wine from Rheinhessen: Blue Nun. That one, however, is made from inferior grapes and blends lots of wine from all over the region and from different vintages. Fritz uses 100 percent riesling, sticks to single vintages, and blends in some of his premium grapes from Nackenheim, so Fritz's riesling has more character, as well as a consistent style. What we find here is a very good German food wine (this would slay you with lobster, which Darryl's doesn't have on the menu) at a value price and lowbrow presentation.