Thursday, April 9, 2009
AN OLD FAVORITE IN BERKELEY'S ELMWOOD DISTRICT
Last weekend, we went to the movies at the Elmwood in Berkeley. It's been a long time, but in the good old days, we were regulars at the Elmwood and at the shops and restaurants along the few blocks of College Avenue that make up the Elmwood neighborhood's business district.
After the movie, we walked down college, in search of dinner. Our choice? La Mediterranée, which has been one of our favorite places since we moved to California in the '70s.
At 6:30p.m., there was a line waiting for tables. We waited about 20 minutes, getting hungrier and hungrier as we watched all the beautiful plates of food pass us by.
We both ordered the Middle East Plate, a sampler of many of Mediterranée's specialties. It includes Chicken Cilicia, Grecian Spinach with Feta, a Levant Sandwich and two choices: Either Lamb Lule or Chicken Pomegranate and a choice of Green Salad, Armenian Potato Salad or Soup.
I had mine with the Lamb Lule, a ground lamb meatball in a spicy tomato sauce over rice pilaf. J chose the Chicken Pomegranate, a baked herbed chicken drumstick which has been first marinated in pomegranate juice. I had the Green Salad and J had the Armenian Potato Salad. The Chicken Cilicia is a mix of chicken, almonds, chickpeas, raisins, cinnamon and spices, wrapped and baked in fillo dough. The Levant Sandwich is an Aram (rolled) sandwich filled with cream cheese,herbs, cucumber, lettuce, feta, and tomato. Also on the plate was a selection of fresh fruit and a slice of cheese.
While we were waiting, I saw several tables enjoying a fruit and cheese plate and had thought I'd order a small one for dessert, but that was before I realized that my Middle East Plate would include a mini version of the fruit and cheese.
The Middle East Plate costs about $11, a true bargain for the quality and quantity. J's glass of house wine, was decent, and less than $4. My lemonade cost $2.50. This is why Mediterranée has endured all these many years.
In addition to its busy dining room, Mediterranée has a heated outdoor patio and, for those with dogs, a few sidewalk tables.
By the way, Mediterranée also has locations in San Francisco on Fillmore Street and on Noe Street.
Another note: We walked past Ici several times on Saturday, late afternoon and evening, and there was always a very long line of people waiting patiently for a scoop or two of their handmade, organic, ice cream and handmade ice cream cones. Next time!!