We've stopped visiting The Mediterranean Restaurant & Cafe as our "go to" spot for pleasant, something different, dining. Our Saturday (9/21) evening visit was the nail in the coffin on this local establishment, following a series of issues that ended with a "slop on the plate" presentation of their evening special, Chicken Marsala.
The cooks clearly exhibited an, "I couldn't care less" attitude, one too many times to overlook the plate of slop set down before us on this particular visit. Unfortunately, the one evening out when both Mister and I left our phones charging at home - just when we desperately needed them. Photos would be appalling!
To start, I ordered a cup of French onion soup and Mister ordered fried mushrooms. I received my very small cup (practically tea-cup size) of barely luke-warm broth, topped with a thick slice of bread and a slice of melted cheese. It was a difficult thing to eat, in such a small cup - the slightest dip into the cup and it pushed the bread down and the broth out - no easy way to eat this soup in such a small container. For any other kind of soup the cup size would have been adequate, but not for French onion soup. Additionally, disappointing - the broth certainly needed no blowing to cool because it was already cooled. Savory flavor was good, but overall a big disappointment for such a classic soup.
Mister sat and watched me eat my cup-a-cool broth - waiting, waiting, waiting for his mushroom appetizer. Waiting, waiting, waiting and my soup was sipped and our side salads arrived. Still no mushrooms.
I like to eat my salad with my meal so I saved my salad. Mister was still waiting, waiting, waiting for his mushrooms. He decided to eat his salad in the meantime.
We sat waiting, waiting, waiting on our main entrees the Chicken Marsala - a.k.a. slop on a plate. It was horrifying! Mister and I looked at one another and hoped it tasted better than it looked. We felt like we were being punished with this plated presentation. Where were our camera phones when we needed them!
Mister again asked our server about the mushrooms - a couple more times. She told us the kitchen was backed up. We found that odd since the restaurant wasn't really busy.
Finally, much past appetizer time, Mister received his mushrooms . . . along with his entree.
This is the best visual description I can offer on this "slop on a plate" - We both selected wheat pasta for this Chicken Marsala entree. Our server set down two plates overloaded with wheat pasta. Each plate was oozing tan sauce from the mounds of pasta and the sauce puddled on the corners of the plates. The addition of beige sliced mushrooms and tan-colored chicken further punctuated the drab appearance. This was the most unappealing presentation of Chicken Marsala I've ever seen. With this overly sauced mound of brownish-tan pasta, it literally looked like slop on a plate.
I found some broccoli heads buried beneath the pasta and chicken on my plate; Mister had a few broccoli heads showing atop his pasta, but they too were covered with the excessive sauce to add any punch of green color.
What we had before us, looked nothing at all like the appealing photo on their FB page - where you see nicely sliced chicken breast served atop mushrooms and a smaller serving of moist looking pasta with bright green broccoli - NOTHING AT ALL LIKE THAT!
I took half my pasta home, but the more I thought about the look of it when it was served, I couldn't bear to open the take-home box. It went in the garbage.
I've since exchanged emails with the owner about this incident and there have been a lot of excuses made and a few snarky comments. It's is a family-owned restaurant with sons and daughters-in-law as employees - you'd think a better product would come from the kitchen since that is the case.
The owner did make an effort to temper the night-of horror, with an offer of a gift card to compensate us for the meal. Unfortunately, with the many other problems we've experienced previously over time, I thanked her for the offer but said it wouldn't be necessary.
Other issues we've experienced prior to the "final straw":
The soup of the day written on the "Specials of the Day" board is rarely available (three consecutive visits we were told "That was yesterday's soup.") - Who's in charge of the board?
On many of our previous visits the soup routinely is in need of reheating. (Get a thermometer!) You wouldn't think that would be such a big deal, but it throws off the whole timing of your meal. It's ordered as an appetizer for a reason and when they bring out your reheated soup with your entree - it makes for an unpleasant dining experience, each time.
And something so simple as a lemon slice? Our past three visits to The Mediterranean have been sans lemon. How is it they rarely have lemon for ice water - the one beverage that many people order with a slice of lemon?
To our surprise Saturday (9/21) evening, they actually brought our water with lemon slices! Unfortunately, the water had that rubber hose aftertaste. Aside from that, we thought our luck might be changing for the better with those lemon slices. But, that was just a false sense of better.
This is not a one-off experience of poor food quality, timing of food delivery (appetizers are meant to come before entrees). The Mediterranean has some competition down the street now in this small town and that is becoming our "go to" local restaurant. It's important for a business like this to show it cares about the quality of the food being served and that customers are pleased. Not once have we ever dined at The Mediterranean and been greeted by the owner to ask about the meal. With all the issues we've tolerated in these past visits, we want the best value and service for our hard-earned money and especially the best presentation of good food.
You might have better luck - unfortunately, our luck with The Mediterranean ran out.