Darryl's Wood Fired Grill
Casual RestaurantFood ★★☆☆☆Ambiance ★★★★☆Service ★★★★☆Creativity ★★☆☆☆Value ★★☆☆☆
$30-50 meal for 2 plus drinks
This was our third visit to Darryl's Wood Fired Grill in about 2 or 3 years. We found ourselves in the neighborhood and decided to try them again.
Darryl's is a fairly active and very large multi-storied restaurant and it can be quite busy on the weekends. There are 2 levels with a few extra tables up on mezzanine levels above the second. Lots of stairs at Darryl's, but this gives a very interesting visual inside. The interior has a resemblance to restaurants and clubs you might find in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Lots of brick old wooden beams and plenty of smaller sections with various themes such as the jails, theater, and elevator areas. Upstairs there are some tables in small overhanging rooms and elevated eating areas. Visually, there is plenty there, from antique signs and items to the extensive woodwork and brick. A place like this can be hard to clean with all of the nook and crannies, but they seem to do an excellent job of keeping everything dusted and clean. We were seated in one of the upper mezzanine tables, very close to the ceiling and there were no dust bunnies hanging out.
If you or someone in your party has problems with stairs, there is plenty of seating downstairs and in the 2 patio sections.
Darryl's has a long history in Greensboro. This used to be a chain of about 30 restaurants that was bought out once or twice and eventually faded from their glory. The current owner purchased this and this is the last of Darryl's Restaurants. They obviously spent ALOT of money restoring and decorating this place and it shows.
The service for a casual style restaurant was surprising good. Everyone was very attentive without being pushy. The wait staff for our table had to walk up an additional flight of stairs to get to our table. They definitely get their work out here.
The food a Darryl's has never been impressive to a foodie. Mediocre is the best description of their food. The food is reminiscent of food from 10 years ago in Greensboro area. 10 years ago food like Darryl's might have been considered good to very good. Times have changed and the area has many new chefs with lots of creativity and the desire to push the envelope on flavors. They obviously have not kept up with the new standards in restaurants and cooking and most of the dishes are lacking flavor. Tonight was not an exception. We tried several appetizers as typically they can be some of the more creative dishes a restaurant has to offer.
We started off with Darryl's Signature Cajun Shrimp. It is described as Shrimp dipped in buttermilk and breaded in seasoned flour, fried and served with cajun dipping sauce.
The shrimp had a strong "shrimpy" note of less than fresh shrimp. The breader on the shrimp had very little flavor, just a bit of salt and pepper. The dipping sauce had zero cajun seasoning. The sauce tasted like tartar sauce mixed with mayo. A bit of a let down for a signature dish.
Next, we had Darryl's French Onion Soup. Described as Lots of caramelized onions simmered in a rich beef broth with melted provolone cheese.
French onion soup is a fairly easy soup to make, so it is amazing how many restaurants get it wrong. Darryl's IS the exception, they serve one of the better bowls of French onion soup in our area, especially for a casual restaurant. Sure, I have had better bowls of French Onion in fancy fine dining restaurants, but Darry's does a very respectable job on this dish. The broth was beefy with butter notes, lots of caramelized onion and a very large portion of cheese on top. We have had their soup in the past and this was actually the main reason for picking them tonight. I am not too crazy about the look of the giant homemade cracker they put on top as it hides the caramelized cheese. I personally feel it is a better presentation without the cracker on top.
Next, we had Darryl's Smoked Wings. These were described as Spice rubbed, applewood smoked wings tossed in BBQ sauce. I was offered the choice of sauces and I asked for Thai Sauce on the side as many times the sauce just makes with wings soggy.
The smoke flavor was very weak and there was no pink smoke band and the meat did not have the extreme tenderness of a properly smoked meat. Low and slow smoking produces the Nitric Oxide and carbon Monoxide necessary to produce the pink ring. Low and slow cooking allow the Nitric Oxide and Carbon Monoxide to penetrate the meat and react with the myoglobin. The ring itself is not important, but it does indicate the meat was naturally smoked over a fire, low and slow and this creates the flavor and texture of a great smoked meat.
Most likely these were smoked for a short time using an electric smoker or smokenator, or had a smoke marinade. The wings were fried after smoking which gave them a crispy exterior. If these were slow smoked for several hours and then deep fried, this could have been a fantastic dish. The flavor and texture were more like a fried wing with a slight smokey off flavor. This could have been a fantastic dish. Maybe I should have had them smothered in BBQ as per the menu?
Darryl's is a very popular restaurant, so obviously many enjoy eating there. Darryl's had a decent size crowd on a Wednesday night so their food appeals to a large group of people. However, for a foodie, this falls into the category of old style standard food from many years ago.