Last Saturday, I met JR for dinner at Dafni Greek Taverna, a restaurant I'd been to once before with mixed success. It was ah-kay, but given how glowing the reviews were, I was kind of disappointed. This time around, however, I was fully on the Dafni train.
Make no mistake-- this restaurant is still on the most miserable stretch of block in NYC, a desolate area of 42nd Street across from the Port Authority. But inside, it's warm and welcoming, if still a little loud. You know what was also warm and welcoming? The basket of warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven pita that landed on our table after we placed our orders. I only wished the accompanying olive oil had a bit more of a peppery bite, but as it was, this was some gooood pita.
Both JR and I went for salads. He had chosen the Greek Salad with Salmon, which epitomizes one of the things I like most about Dafni: the prices are right and the portions don't skimp. All the ingredients in this large salad were fresh (including the included stuffed grape leaves, which is a nice bonus!), and the salmon was well-cooked and tasty. Thumbs up.
My choice once again was the Nisiotiki salad, which came with mixed greens, grilled fennel, dried figs, and and the key-- grilled haloumi. This time around the haloumi was fresh off the grill, warm and pliable and savory and not rubbery at all. The fennel was tasty, if a bit oily, and the dried figs were as loveable as ever. Truly a hearty and enjoyable salad.
We skipped out on Dafni's limited desserts for some ice cream a few blocks away. This time around, I'd say Dafni actually earns an extra spatula-- for the price, this is actually one of the better four Offset Spatula meals you'll get around town. Check it out, especially if you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path pre-theater option.
Dafni Greek Taverna
352 W. 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues