A couple weeks ago, I made a return visit to Ann Arbor’s Mediterrano restaurant for the first time since 2010. Our first and only previous dining experience was fine, and I did post a quick write up, but somehow it took five years for me to get back in there. Their location is admittedly a bit hidden – they are near located at the corner of State and Eisenhower Blvd in Ann Arbor, near the Concord Center Shops plaza, behind World Market, so I think I often forget they are there.
Earlier this year, Mediterrano welcomed a new chef, Joe VanWagner, who came to Mediterrano from the Purple Pig in Chicago. The menu has been completely revamped since my last visit. Chef Joe has put a twist on a number of Mediterranean classics featured on the original menu, and also has created some new dishes of his own, including a nice new selection of small plates.
After being invited in by the friendly folks at Mediterrano, I couldn’t resist giving the new menu a taste. I’m glad I did! The huz and I shared several small dishes, which in my opinion is the best way to go. I love trying as many things as possible.
Above, my favorite dish of the night:
- Oktapodi Riganato – “Marinated octopus, cabernet sauvignon, our olive oil.” Octopus drizzled with olive oil imported from the restaurant owner’s property in Crete (if memory serves). This was the most tender octopus I’ve ever had (granted, this was only the third time I’ve had it!), and I was a big fan of the bright, briny and citrusy dressing on the seafood and greens.
Below was one of the night’s specials, Scallop Toast, consisting of thick toasted bread covered in a spread consisting of caramelized onions and smoked pork jowl, served with pickled veggies, and two seared jumbo sea scallops, which I sliced up and placed atop the toast. Such an interesting and unique dish with lots of layers of flavors and textures. That scallop though!
The huz and each tried a salad as well. I had this beautiful Roasted Pear Salad with balsamic vinegar, marcona almonds, kefalograviera cheese, and arugula.
Because I am expecting, of course I am refraining from alcohol – but Mediterrano kindly treated me to a special mocktail with citrus and ginger beer. I felt so special! I’ve been missing pretty little drinks when dining out. Mediterrano also features a nice selection of specialty cocktails for those of you who are not refraining.
Next up, we shared an order of Bacon-Wrapped Medjool Dates with Chorizo. I would have liked a little more chorizo, because I think that adds a spicy unexpected twist to traditional bacon-wrapped dates, and slightly crispier bacon, but that’s just me. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon and dates though.
At our server’s recommendation, we made sure to try one of Mediterrano’s handmade pasta dishes (split into two separate dishes for easy sharing which was nice.) While I was very temped by the goat cheese ravioli, we opted for the:
- Spicy Fettucine – “Made-in-house crumbled spicy Italian sausage, capicola ham, hot Hungarian banana peppers, extra virgin olive oil, three cheeses.”
There’s nothing like homemade pasta. The crumbled sausage was also bold and spicy. I second our server’s recommendation to check out the pastas if you visit.
And if that were not enough, we were treated to a surprise dessert duo. Check out this piece of artwork: deconstructed tiramisu.
And, our favorite, was this amazingly moist and tender cinnamon cake with an incredible caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream, cooked cranberries for a little tang, and a sweet apple and pear compote. Two enthusiastic thumbs up! After the fact, our server told us that the cake is gluten-free. I would have never, ever guessed. Super tasty.
I’m so happy that I had the chance to visit and try Mediterrano’s new menu!
Sharing small plates makes for such a fun dining experience, and the huz and I much enjoyed our lovely meal. We were also received excellent service which made the evening extra special.
Many thanks to Mediterrano for hosting us for dinner! It definitely will not be five years until I visit again. I’m glad to have rediscovered this Ann Arbor restaurant.
Another note (though I won’t be able to partake for several months) is that Mediterrano has some pretty great looking Happy Hour specials, as an FYI.