About a year ago, a new, little (actually little) shopping center started going up about a mile from my house. All the buildings had fancy facades that matched each other and it was starting to look like we were going to have a medical offices complex close by. As we drove by this complex being built everyday going to and from work, I said to Megan, “wouldn’t it be great if we got an awesome restaurant this close to our house!” She of course told me to not get my hopes up, so I didn’t. Well low and behold, a few weeks ago, up pops a sign for Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine, hot damn.
After giving the restaurant a few weeks to work out the jitters Megan and I went with her family to see if Mediterraneo would be a local favorite. Right off the bat, the interior of the restaurant was very pleasing. It had a cozy, warm atmosphere that was a great combination of rustic and modern making us feel far removed from the strip mall the restaurant is nestled in.
First off the wine list was very nice, a great range of wines both in region and countries as well as prices. Although I would have loved to choose one of the nice Barolo’s or Barbaresco’s on the menu, I decided to stick with the same region but different grape. We started off with the 2006 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d’ Asti DOC for $28. It had very nice red fruit, dominated by red currant and cherry with a touch of wet earth and shroom on the palate, very nice especially for the price point. On the menu we had ample vegetarian options for appetizers as well as entrees, so of course we were pleased.
In addition to the assortment of foccacia with sun-dried tomato olive oil dipping sauce and balsamic marinated olives we ordered a very interesting sounding salad as an appetizer. The Ricca Gorgonzola consisted of endive leaves filled with corn, hearts of palm, romaine and avocado topped with a creamy gorgonzola dressing. At $13.75, I was slightly concerned that the salad was overpriced until I saw the size of it, this definitely could have easily been shared by four people. The gorgonzola sauce was not overpowering and added a salty richness to the otherwise refreshing salad.
By this time we were already on our second bottle of Chiarlo Barbera and we ordering our 3rd before the entrees arrived but were informed that we had taken the last two bottles. So, wanting to stick with Barbera I chose another one from the list although a bit more expensive at $40, the 2005 Rive Barbera d’ Alba DOC was quite good. The Rive had more dark fruit and fuller tannins, surprising being that it was a year older, and again a healthy dose of earthy, funkiness that was very nice and provided some great layers to each sip.
For entrees Megan got the Gnocchi ($13.75) and I got the Fettuccine Alfredo ($12.75) as well as a side of asparagus. The gnocchi was covered in a wonderful fresh basil pesto and was cooked to perfection. My fettuccine was quite surprising, but in a good way. I hadn’t had fettuccine alfredo in quite some time, remembering it as an overly rich soupy, cheesy mess that isn’t worth the caloric expenditure. But I went out on a limb and was glad I did, the dish was not super heavy but definitely rich and super flavorful. The sauce had a slight nuttiness to it that was enjoyable and the fettuccine itself was cooked perfectly and was just on the side of al dente.
For dessert we had hazelnut gelato and two cups of coffee. Oh man, I am not sure if the hazelnut gelato is always on the menu, but I definitely hope it is the next time we go back. It was so good!! It was as if someone took some Nutella and a bit of espresso and froze it to make this creamy delight!!
Everyone else at the table loved their dishes as well even my Italian brother in law gave his seal of approval. Some of the other dishes were the Filetto al Pepe Verde ($26 – filet mignon, topped with creamy green peppercorn sauce), Carpaccio di Manzo ($12.75 – thinly sliced beef loin topped with micro greens, shaved cheese and extra virgin olive oil), Swordfish ($23 – fresh swordfish grilled and topped with lemon salmoriglio) as well as a couple more that I didn’t write down and can’t remember. In addition for vegetarians, there are a few more pasta options as well as some great sounding pizzas.
Also being the stemware freak that I am, I loved all the glassware that Mediterraneo uses, it definitely adds a nice touch. I can’t wait to go back, especially since I can walk to the restaurant!
Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine
3730 Winterfield Rd.
Midlothian VA 23113