An island of solid pub fare in a sea of bad drunk food
“Forget Southie dining, MC,” says my pal Eddie, a long-time resident who doesn’t include the Seaport or Fort Point Channel in his definition of the neighborhood. “It’s all bad Mexican and, worse, Chinese.” But you have good breakfast joints, right? “Yeah, and some fair pubs.” So I take a seat at the kelly-green bar near the crux of the Broadways, East and West, aptly named The Junction. Roosting at the foursquare bar, wondering if I’ve wandered into a B&B (as in “beer and a beatin’ ”), I notice light streaming through a cathedral window near the high ceiling. It’s bright and friendly on a weekend afternoon. With flat-screens everywhere, I decide I could pass some pleasant hours here during a Sox game.
I order the “Paddy melt” ($8.95), which the affable barman proclaims his favorite. If any sandwich might launch a pub into my modest-bars-with-decent-food rotation, this is it: a properly cooked half-pound burger on grilled rye with cheddar, grilled onions, and a sauce reminiscent of Russian dressing spiked with Tabasco. It’s like a good, messy Reuben with hamburger subbing for corned beef and chili fire standing in for sinus-clearing kraut — and it’s terrific. A mound of above-average fries helps, as does a proper pour of Guinness ($5.25). Bar-food standards like boneless buffalo “wings” ($7.95) are better than they have to be: strips of not-overcooked chicken breast, lighter and fresher than the expected over-breaded Sysco product. A pulled-pork sandwich ($7.95) is less successful, its texture too fine and uniform, its barbecue sauce too sweet. But fish and chips ($10.95) boasts a lovely fry job of an eggy, UK-style beer-batter coating on a 10-inch slab of haddock, plus good cole slaw and more of those fries.
The crowd gets younger as the evening wears on, the jukebox and sports cheering louder. The older, dinner-only crowd exits early while the youths stay to pour down beers: 12 taps, including such craft brews as Dale’s Pale Ale, flow freely while 40 different bottles beckon. I doubt many patrons live much further than stumbling distance. You might say that only in the land of the hot-pink Chinese sparerib and the crappy burrito could a good patty melt be king, but that would be fainter praise than this amiable neighborhood spot deserves.
The Junction, located at 110 Dorchester Street, in South Boston, is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 am to 1 am, and on Sunday, from noon to 1 am. Call 617.268.6249.
: On The Cheap
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