Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton


Lori is taking a Zumba class on Wednesday evenings, so I'm usually on my own for dinner. This usually means stabbing irritably at the "Shake" button on the Urbanspoon app, hoping in vain to be inspired to something novel and delicious. This usually doesn't work.

Last Wednesday, though, Urbanspoon turned up for me a Mediterranean restaurant named Daphne in Shadyside, which was liked by 100% of 40 voters on Urbanspoon. This impressed me; such numbers are rare. So I went to check it out.

Daphne is in a small space on Ellsworth that used to be a cupcake bakery, with about a dozen tables. The lighting was very indirect and fairly dim. I looked for a table that had a bit of direct lighting for photography and didn't find one, but it wasn't too dim to read the menu. The hostess/waitress was wearing what I assume to be traditional garb of her country; I didn't recognize it, but it wasn't standard Western garb.

For my first course, I got the lentil soup. It was wonderful. The basis of the soup was just a simple soup of pureed lentils, but the rich seasonings made it a really lovely soup for a cold evening. The hostess suggested stirring in a squeeze of lemon, and that too was very nice, though I loved the pre-lemon soup so much that I think the lemon just made it different, not better.
Photo notes: I feel little shame that I couldn't take a great picture of a smooth brown soup under dim light. The iPhone did capture the light pretty well without a flash; the picture looks less dim than the restaurant seemed to be. The iPhone photos end up being fairly noisy in low-light conditions, and telling iPhoto to reduce the noise doesn't seem to help.

I also found myself really noticing how good the pitas were, which I don't usually notice. They were softer than usual pitas, and very flavorful. I think they might be fresher than average.

For an entree, I got the gyro platter. The flavor of lamb was very prominent, making it taste more clearly of lamb than most gyro meat, but it wasn't nearly as strong as most lamb I've had. The texture was a very nice combination of crisp bits and tender bits that reminded me of descriptions I've read of whole-hog barbecue. It came with bulgur, salad, and marinated onions.
Photo notes: the picture without flash looked dull, so I took another picture with the flash on. (I worried about distracting other customers with the flash earlier, but there were very few customers in the restaurant at this moment.) Taking food pictures with the iPhone is a bit odd, because the flash illuminates the near portion of a plate much more than the far side, making the plate look cool and remote. I should have experimented with rotating the plate to emphasize the meat. In this picture, the flash made the meat look much more shiny than I intended, as if it were covered in a sauce.

I ordered a set of pistachio wraps to go, but I took them out of the bag, to photograph at the lit counter. The proprietor saw me doing so, and selected another plated set for me to photograph, taking great care to pick the most photogenic one. This gave me a chance to chat with him. I regret that I failed to catch his name; I misheard it as Ghi or something like that.
The pistachio wraps, unfortunately, were not very good - they had the cloying sweetness that I dislike when I find it in baklava.
Photo notes: this really shows how the bright light of the flash makes the camera underexpose everything outside the flash, making the dessert seem all alone in the world.

Overall, Daphne was very good, and I'd be glad to return.
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