Friday, April 13, 2012

Cafe Mediterranean Almost Had Me

      Mediterranean cuisine is not one that "I get".  I enjoy a lot of the dishes, but I always feel that I've been short changed a bit.  It's an overall bias I have and I'd like to change that opinion.  So, four of us set out to Cafe Mediterranean to celebrate Carole's birthday.  I've passed it several times and have perused the menu online and by stopping at the hostess station.  By the time we finally had our date set, I was well aware of what my entrée would be.

Hummus and Pita Appetizer
Vegetable Casserole
      Karen generously ordered the Hummus as an appetizer to share.  Nicely presented, I would definitely say it was a house made version of the classic served with a basket of pita.  She and Paul decided on the Vegetable Casserole topped with mozzarella cheese and served with rice pilaf.  We all came to the conclusion that it
was more of a stew and similar to a French onion soup when it came to eating (think melted cheese), although with nicely spiced attributes.  

Falafel Lunch
Carole was set on the Falafel Lunch, a brilliant green centered version of the fried ground chick peas and chopped vegetables and a little more flavorful than most.  It had a side of hummus, tahini sauce, and salad.  

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
My long-awaited selection was the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls—tender leaves surrounding a mixture of rice, beef, lamb, peppers, onions, and herbs with a yogurt sauce for dipping.  I loved my Mom's version and found these a good second.  Paul wanted a dessert to finish our birthday celebration and went with the chocolate mousse from a substantial dessert tray presentation.  Unfortunately, he was immediately turned off by some watery liquid in the cup when it was served.  Carole and I sampled it and found it to be more pudding like—OK, but lacking the lightness of a mousse.  

The Dining Room at Lunch
      Our server was attentive and personable.  However, I would have thought that she would have questioned why we barely touched the mousse.  The atmosphere was what I would term a work in progress.  I feel the space could be a lot warmer with additional rugs on the walls (or floor), more accessories in the bookshelves, and larger artwork to break up the long wall.  Strip center restaurants always have that challenge, but it is possible to overcome and they are on their way.

       Now we're back to my original bias.  I'm still not completely convinced despite my general satisfaction.  For the price, I truly feel that the inclusion of a side salad with my entrée would have made it seem more complete.  Carole's lunch plate appeared to be just that.  Although the casseroles were served with rice, I think a better choice would have been a salad offering.  For a return visit, I would try the Gyro with the addition of fries or soup, which seemed to be very popular among other customers.

As a note: the lunch and dinner menus are mislabeled on their website.  I informed them several weeks ago about this, but currently they have not been changed.
Cafe Mediterranean on Urbanspoon

I was happy to stay at home and enjoy the sunshine!

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