Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant – New Brunswick, NJ
I travel to New Brunswick quite often and had the opportunity to work there for a year. That was a long time ago and this city has undergone quite an overhaul. Some of my old haunts still grace the streets. Places like Harvest Moon, Old Man Rafferty’s, Clydz, and the Frog and the Peach. Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant has a unique atmosphere that mixes a comfortable feel with modern ambiance.
The menu is comprised of “all appetizers”. It's like the small plate offerings in other restaurants, except the entire menu is “small”. The suggestion is to order 3-5 plates per person in order to make a meal. The last time I ate there I was in a party of five. We ordered approximately 20 plates. Don’t be fooled when the portions arrive. If you have at least 4 of these, you will be stuffed. The joke that night around the table was “little food catches up with you”.
We started with the oysters Rockefeller, short ribs, polenta, potatoes gratin, lentils, chicken skewers and a small pasta dish with shrimp. I paired this first “round” with a pinot grigio recommended by the waitress which complemented everything we ordered. Round two consisted of the sea scallops, bleu cheese sliders, duck breast, crispy duck confit, arctic char, spinach, a basket of fries, and more. I had three men in my party that night that were not impressed with the small portions, but ended up regretting that sentiment as the food kept coming. This style of eating which requires the ‘ol taste-and-pass isn’t for everyone, but it sure allows you to try many different dishes (about 15 for us that night) in one sitting.
Daryl also offers a wine shop. If you enjoy a particular wine with dinner, you can likely purchase it at the shop. Also, a weekly feature is “retail Tuesdays” where they offer wines at retail prices for the evening. On some bottles this is a terrific deal, but when it comes down to it, expensive wine is expensive no matter what. One thing Daryl offers is a great selection any night of the week.
The best feature of the wine shop is the rare "Enomatic Wine Serving System". This system preserves bottles of wine so they can be served by the glass in a self service fashion. With the purchase of a wine debit card, you can serve yourself tastes of many different wines with the swipe of a card. It allows you to test wines that you would likely not try by the glass due to the fear of the unknown.
This system of wine serving is starting to infuse slowly throughout the United States. It's fun and gives you the opportunity to allow your palate to take a few adventures. If hosting a business event in New Brunswick, or in the central New Jersey area, this is a great side trip for those interested in wine. It's also a great way to play hooky for an afternoon or evening while on a business trip, as long as you are staying at a local hotel within walking distance or taking a cab.
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