By Siqi Liu’19
Before I’d actually ever stepped foot into Daedalus, it was the name that first intrigued me. I remember walking past it almost every day my freshmen year and musing at the creamy wooden sign hanging above its door. The restaurant advertises New American meals, but “Daedalus” calls to mind the Greek mythology of Daedalus and Icarus. According to the myth, Daedalus was a skilled craftsman who creates a pair of wings for him and his son to escape the tower in which they were imprisoned. The fact that this restaurant claims to draw upon such a timeless tale seems to set up a promise of attaining new heights, of innovation, and of tradition. As someone who believes in the power of names, I decided I needed to see for myself whether it lives up to its namesake.
It was a rainy Saturday night when my friend and I showed up at the front steps of the dim-lit restaurant. The whole place was set up like a pub, with a bar upstairs and small, square wooden tables that tried to convey an aura nonchalant urban chicness. There was no music, just the muffled chatter of diners sealing in the intimate ambience of the place. The host led us to a table in the corner upstairs, and we immediately proceeded to squint at a specials and regular menu. Nothing really caught our eye in the appetizers menu; it offered some generic options that vacillated between overpriced American pub food and popular Italian appetizers. Craving pasta, I ordered the seafood pasta special. My friend ordered the mushroom risotto.
When our food arrived, I was quite impressed by the presentation. The green asparagus and the pink shrimp nestled neatly atop my fat bed of fettucine, glistening with bits of red bacon, reminded me of spring—an odd choice for an autumn special, but still visually appealing. The mushroom risotto, in my opinion, came in the perfect proportion. The Portobello, spinach, and parmesan weaved into one another like some intricate knitting project. We were excited to start our meal.
At first bite, the white wine cream sauce was divine. The parmesan and smoked bacon added a tangy note to the sauce that made the flavor linger in my mouth. The shrimp and asparagus, which were both extremely fresh, balanced out the heaviness of the pasta itself. The only complaint that I had was the bacon fat did make the pasta a bit greasy.
As a fan of risotto in general, I was delighted to try my friend’s mushroom risotto (much at his chagrin). The first thought that came to mind when I encountered the flavor was parsley! I’m not quite sure why the dish had such an overpowering parsley flavor, and I’m not sure whether it worked. But I thoroughly enjoyed the tender mushrooms basking in light truffle oil. My friend absolutely adored the cheese, which gave a kick to what could otherwise have degenerated into a bland risotto dish.
Throughout the meal, our waitress checked in on us maybe once. I didn’t mind the lack of attentive service much because our food did get to the table rather quickly, and I enjoyed my company. So, did Daedalus live up to its lofty namesake? Not exactly, but I’d still recommend it for a casual night out for anyone who is too lazy to venture out of the square.
Location: 45.5 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Reservation: Call (617) 349-0071
Overall Rating: 3/5