Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mediterraneo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

On Monday we went to Mediterraneo for lunch. I’d been there a couple of times before and found the food to be “pretty good”, but a tad overpriced for lunch. (90% of downtown Sarasota restaurants are overpriced for lunch, so I guess this is nothing new.)

This time I took a recommendation and ordered the fettuccini with the sausage ragout (I don’t have a menu with me so I don’t recall the actual fancy Italian name, but fettuccini with sausage ragout will get you the right item). We also ordered a veal dish and a salmon dish. Again… no menu on hand so I can’t give you the correct names.

The bread brought out to snack on was standard fare and contained no surprises. We mowed through it and the waitress noticed and mentioned she’d bring some more. We had to remind her after she brought our entrées and she pulled the old, “Oh, I thought somebody else brought it to you” in a weak attempt to cover up her mistake. While I was slightly annoyed about the tardy bread I was more annoyed that she didn’t just say “oops”.

Does my previous statement seem a little persnickety to you? Well, maybe so. I think I was a cranky at the time because the chairs are so uncomfortable that it was souring my mood. In my humble opinion, Mediterraneo has the worst chairs in restaurant history. By the time we were ready to leave I was thinking I might need a visit to a chiropractor to fix this lunch.

It took a while for the lunch entrées to make it to the table. They weren’t especially busy on this day, so make sure you have plenty of time for your lunch. In light of the chair issue you might want to take this time to get up and walk around a bit.

I have to say that I really liked my fettuccini. It qualifies as a “very good”. It completely surpassed my expectations. Most surprising of all was that it was spicy! I don’t know how many readers have eaten in Sarasota before, but finding food with strong flavor in this town is a lot like finding a Marriott Suites on the moon--unexpected and a little daring.

The veal dish was one that had been ordered many times before. I’ve personally never had it, but since it gets re-ordered I have to assume it’s a decent item.

The salmon deserves some special attention. The first words uttered were, “Zoria makes a better a salmon.” Now, I don’t want any readers to get fooled into thinking I’d ever recommend Zoria, but if you do go there the Salmon was the only decent thing I ever ate there. The fact that Zoria makes a better salmon does not bode well for Mediterraneo.

The less-than-proud owner of the salmon did not appear to enjoy eating his lunch at all. That also says a lot because this guy is never without a grin on his face.
However, the real review came a few hours later when he got sick and left work early. The following morning I heard some pretty gruesome stories best left unwritten. Remember the grim warning in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”? Don’t eat the salmon!

Even with the salmon incident we’ll probably end up going there for lunch again. With summer approaching we find ourselves less willing to make long treks from the office, and Mediterraneo is pretty close to us. It was never a first choice for us though, and I’m pretty certain we won’t be ordering seafood.

Here’s their info:

1970 Main Street, Sarasota
(941) 365-4122

PS: I found a menu online but unfortunately it is not the current menu. It has similar dishes to the ones we had above but it doesn’t have the lunch version of the veal and it doesn’t have the fettuccini version of sausage ragout. I suspect it is a really old menu because the actual prices are somewhat higher than what’s listed on this site.

Here it is:

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