Living on the southern coast of Turkey for a couple years made me a bit of a snob when it comes to Mediterranean food back here in the States. I often find myself making smarmy comments along the lines of, “Oh, you think this is hummus? Too bad you can’t taste the hummus I ate when I lived on the southern coast of Turkey for a couple years.”
I know, I know – it’s annoying.
You can understand my trepidation about trying out the Mediterranean Bistro and Wine Bar, because after all, not only was I worried that I would be disappointed by the food but I was also a little afraid I might go into smarmy mode. That’s why I went with my friend Sara; she had recommended this place and hasn’t steered me wrong yet when it comes to food, and I also know that she wouldn’t sit there and allow me to be smarmy for too long before telling me to shut up.
An unassuming atmosphere
Walking into the Mediterranean Bistro I could feel my smarminess readying itself to make an appearance. This place just doesn’t look much like a Mediterranean place either outside or in, so I worried that I would spend my lunch hour sighing loudly, eating ersatz Mediterranean food.
I soon noticed that the staff was quite nice. They moved swiftly and were ready with recommendations or answers to questions. I started off by ordering the Hummus and Baba Gounush combo as an appetizer, which arrived at our table quickly and looked amazing.
I was confused. These folks didn’t know that I was there to review their food. They didn’t know that I once lived in the Mediterranean area and am a food snob. So why did the appetizer look so perfect? One bite confirmed my initial suspicion: it tasted amazing, and incredibly authentic.
An amazing menu
Choosing a main dish was tough. While I really wanted to try their kabobs or a gyro, I couldn’t shake the fact that there was a Falafel Wrap on the menu. I’m crazy about falafel, particularly when it’s prepared correctly.
The wrap was served on herb flatbread and was accompanied by a side of cucumber yogurt sauce. If you’ve never seen a person absolutely demolish a falafel wrap, then you should try to go there the next time I show up to eat lunch. I tore that wrap up. It exceeded my expectations on every level, from flavor, to temperature to consistency. Had Sara ordered a wrap too, she probably would have had to hide in the corner lest I leap out of my seat and wrestle it out of her hands.
Luckily for Sara, she ordered some spicy chicken dish that was too spicy for me. I know this because when it arrived at the table, I could feel the spiciness wafting up from the dish. So she didn’t have to fend me off, which probably made for a much more pleasant dining experience overall.
Yes, absolutely check this place out
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never set foot near the Mediterranean or if you’ve never before tasted Mediterranean food – you should try this place. The food is delicious and relatively inexpensive, especially for the hearty portion sizes and the quality of the food.
Mediterranean Bistro and Wine Bar
1712 North 120th Street
Lunch: Mon – Fri: 11:00-2:00
Dinner: Tues – Sun: Opens at 5:00