Memorable | One of the Best
Darrell’s Place | Iowa Tenderloin at its Best
Review by: Jane & Michael Stern
The Great Midwest Tenderloin
Back in 2004, Darrell’s Place took the blue ribbon in the first-ever Iowa Pork Producers Association tenderloin competition. That’s a very big deal in the southern Midwest, where tenderloins stir passion among locals as well as travelers in search of unique regional specialties. Darrell’s, which boasts that it serves well over 200 pounds of pork every week, features one handsome hunk of pounded-thin tenderloin. Far wider than its bun, it is thick enough to be plenty juicy but still all about crispness. A crunchy wave of crust with countless savory facets envelops sweet meat. Complement it with pickle chips and thick hoops of crisp white onion and you face Iowa tenderloin at its best. In a region rich with excellent tenderloins, Darrell’s is an essential destination.
Must Eat: Rhubarb Pie
Darrell’s offers a full menu of good-looking bar food, but beyond that and Iowa tenderloin at its best, you must save room for dessert. Rhubarb pie, made using stalks secured from customers’ patches, comes piled into a master-class crust. A cascade of soft-serve vanilla ice cream — its traditional garnish — perfectly balances the tantalizing sugar-tart filling. Summer is the time you want to eat it, but the proprietor gathers enough from his devoted customers that he freezes as much as he needs to offer rhubarb pie year-around.
A Strange Kind of Charm
We must tell you that Darrell’s Place is so devoid of visual charm that the void is itself charming. It looks less like a restaurant and more like a large shed where trucks and tractors get stored. In fact, the building began life as a machine shed. There is no outside landscaping or architectural personality whatever. Only a Coke sign with the restaurant name marks the building. A flat, grey tarmac surrounds it. The interior is all beer advertising memorabilia and, of course, a TV above the bar.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|