I have a tendency to hold grudges where food and restaurants are concerned. This was the case with Mediterrano, a restaurant located in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs. The first time I tried to go there was on a late Sunday afternoon. Although it was not normal dinner hours (it was around 4:30 PM) I assumed that a small suburban restaurant would serve all day. I was mistaken. (Ironically and annoyingly enough, the restaurant now opens at 4 PM for dinner.) My second attempt at dining there was met with defeat as we did not have reservations. Once again I assumed that a small restaurant in the ‘burbs would not require reservations (many do not). However, in the spirit of letting bygones be bygones, I decided to dine there (this time I made sure to make reservations) during Pittsburgh’s Winter Restaurant Week.
Mediterrano is located on a somewhat bland and overly commercial stretch of road but has a decidedly pleasant interior. Its decor matches the restaurant’s Mediterranean cuisine-prints of what appear to be Greece adorn the walls, bottles of wine and vases of lemon grace the shelves.
I had always planned on ordering from the Restaurant Week menu which features three courses for $20, even though countless other options on the standard menu sounded delicious. The first course was your choice of either soup or salad. Although avgolemono is one of Greece’s most famous soups, I’m not the biggest fan and instead decided to go with the Elliniki Salata (Greek salad). The house vinaigrette was extremely tart (it really opened up one’s nasal passages) but the vegetables were moist and succulent. Not to mention I just enjoy eating fresh vegetables whenever possible and you can never go wrong with large chunks of feta cheese.
The second course consisted of your choice of entree, either wild sockeye salmon that was pan-seared and topped with roasted leek and pepper sauce over wild rice, or roasted lamb shoulder-stuffed ravioli that featured a lamb gravy and was topped with fresh house pulled mozzarella. (I went with this).) Although I do like to be more adventurous when dining out where fish is concerned, I usually limit these experiences to vacation and I’m somewhere really unique (i.e. mahi mahi on the Hawaiian island of Maui) and not 10 miles from home. The ravioli were delicious and not anything like the Italian kind (they were homemade and more resembled pillows than neatly folded and tucked Italian ravioli).
The third course was dessert and diners got to select between traditional, chocolate, or raspberry baklava. I went with the raspberry flavor for something different. Rich, sinful, and decadent.
My only critique (and it’s oh so minor) is that we ordered an appetizer of hummus to share, not realizing that the complimentary bread was pita and hummus. Had we known this we would have gone for our other favorite appetizer, babah gonoush. It was certainly not a travesty since the hummus was different (traditional versus a red pepper variety). I just thought it was something the waitress could have mentioned, although perhaps we should have known better than to think we would be getting standard bread and butter in a Mediterranean restaurant.
For his entree D ordered the Patitsio, a layered Greek pasta featuring a meat sauce and baked in a bechamel sauce. It came with two sides of which D selected the rice pilaf and roasted lemon potatoes (other options included green beans, spinach and Greek style fries).
For a rather unassuming restaurant, it was one of the best meals I had had in a long time and the service could not have been any more friendly or attentive.
2193 Babcock Boulevard