Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Castle Restaurant (Closed)

This restaurant has closed.

I'm oh-so-excited to announce a new contributor to DWM, the fabulous Ginger, from Walt's World.

Castle Restaurant
3992 Park

If you keep up with the Commercial Appeal’s “dining spotlights” (apparently they’re no longer “reviews”), this review will probably sound pretty familiar because it was just a couple of weeks ago that the CA “spotlighted” (spotlit?) Castle Restaurant. Ever since I read it, I’ve had gyros on the brain, so knowing that the Spickler family was looking at a rare Saturday with no events on the calendar, I made plans early in the week to give it a try.

It’s an inconspicuous little place on the north side of Park, very close to the Getwell intersection. As an aside, I must admit that I’m always a bit nervous visiting new ethnic places in Memphis. More than once, I’ve had the experience of being the only patron, and feeling like the employees were watching my every reaction to their food. “Did she like the falafel? Will she come back?!” I certainly don’t begrudge the owners their nervousness – the restaurant biz is a tough one even for places hawking good ‘ol American food – but it does affect my enjoyment of the restaurant experience. However, I needn’t have feared. Castle Restaurant was positively bustling. I would guess that upwards of forty customers came through the doors of the tiny restaurant in the 45 minutes or so that we were there, no doubt bolstered by the CA’s glowing review.

Seating is kind of limited – maybe six tables and some counter seating inside and two tables outside. During our visit, every seat was taken (including the ones outside on a pretty brisk, though sunny afternoon) and a couple of parties even shared table space, laughing and chatting like old friends by the time they parted. Overall, it was quite the convivial atmosphere.

Taking in the aromas that wafted through the little dining room upon first walking in, I knew I was not going to be disappointed. (Though our almost-four-year-old monkey, Walt, was a bit perturbed that grilled cheese – his standard Saturday lunch fare – was not on the menu.) We ordered a Castle combination (veggie deal), a gyro plate, and an extra plate for Walt, with plans to share everything.

Walt occupied himself by handing out “tickets” from the sugar/fake sugar container on the table during the 15 minutes or so that we had to wait for our food. It came out piled high on two Styrofoam plates. The veggie combination ($8.99) included falafel, spanakopita, hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread, dolmas, and a generous bowl of well-seasoned tomato-cucumber salad. They gyro plate ($7.99) came with the same salad, a pool of thick tzatziki, and, of course, a huge portion of delicious, spicy, crispy-on-the-edges gyro meat topped with grilled onions and tomatoes and a different kind of pita bread than was on the other plate.

We fixed Walt a plate with a little of everything, and honestly, the only things he really liked were the spanakopita and the gyro meat (until he decided it was too spicy after eating a good bit of it). But he loved the spanakopita, declaring it “cheesy and delicious.” Next time, I’ll get him a piece of that to eat on his own.

Josh and I loved everything except for the dolmas (an acquired taste, perhaps?). If we weren’t being so gluttonous, we probably could have shared the gyro plate and it would have been a perfectly acceptable amount of food for lunch. If you can’t decide between the hummus and the baba ghanoush, you could order a side of either item for about $3 to round out the meal. And we also added a piece of the walnut baklava for good measure, which was good, but would have been better if it hadn’t been so cold, I thought.

Castle also had a number of other of other meat plates (kefta, grilled chicken) and sandwiches, and a cheeseburger if your monkey is absolutely opposed to eating anything he can’t pronounce (though “falafel” is a really fun word for a four-year old to say). We will definitely be back to try some of the other menu offerings.

Our bill came to around $24 including two sodas (after correcting the cashier’s error of charging us twice for one of the meals) and was worth every penny. Again, I think you could easily get away with spending less than we did for two adults and a child if you were a little more, uh, restrained in your consumption. But it sure was good.

There is one restroom that, despite being without a changing table, was perfectly clean. I’ve changed diapers on considerably dirtier floors than that one! And on my way back from the restroom, I noticed a motley assortment of high chairs and booster seats, should you require them.

Castle Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Chip said...

Good review, G. I'm definitely headed to that joint some time soon.

Josh said...

and just to be clear. despite the implication in the last paragraph, said 4-year-old monkey is potty trained.

150n2yrs said...

I went last friday it was great i had the gyro plate w/bread and a veggie plate...yummy going back today for a gyro.

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