What he’s having: Daedalus’ perfect roof deck, with spicy chicken wrap and a Gin Sour, please
A weekly notebook about food during the Covid-19 shutdown. Remember, if you’re dining out, doing takeout or getting delivery, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.
Eat outside: Daedalus
Having up to 40 percent of Harvard’s undergraduates begin to return next month will give some bounce to Harvard Square; adding the coronavirus pandemic to the normal summer slowdown and a wave of construction has made it feel lifeless. There are gems and oases – we wrote about Grendel’s Den not too long ago – but one stands literally above the rest: Daedalus, which has the nicest roof deck in the square. (Sinclair is nice too, but remains shuttered.) Near the Lampoon building as you head out of the square on Mount Auburn Street, the eatery replaced the old Siam Garden a hard-to-believe nearly 20 years ago. Founding brothers Lawrence and Brendan Hopkins also own the Boathouse space next door, which was formerly Tommy’s Lunch.
The great thing about Daedalus’ roof deck is its cozy, isolated vibe (you’re near the street, but don’t see or hear the cars, for the most) and there’s plenty of shade from overhangs and umbrellas should you be sun-averse yet want the alfresco experience. The time to hit up Daedalus is lunch, and even better when Memorial Drive is shut down on Saturday and Sundays. I’ve always dug its lightly breaded Buffalo chicken tenders – plump and juicy, a few cuts above typical pub fare – but the meal on the menu that has me coming back is the spicy chicken wrap (lunch only), a moist tortilla filled with cajun spiced chicken and super fresh mango salsa with a zing of chipotle aioli. Light and flavorful, it’s a summer time win. I skip the fries and get a side of grilled asparagus that clearly the cook has an appreciation for: It’s never charred or drowning in oil, and always at that perfect juncture between al dente freshness and soft goodness. The wrap is best paired with the bar’s refreshingly untraditional Gin Sour cocktail, made with grapefruit juice, lemon juice and a Lambrusco (red wine) float. It’s like the bar spin on an Arnold Palmer.