Andrea’s View: It was Dave’s turn to pick our latest adventure when he said, “Asian or Mediterranean?” I replied, “Mediterranean please.” So Dave said, “Mediterrano Cafe it is. Do you know where it is?” Yes, because I’ve only driven past it about a thousand times. It’s been in Castleton for years, ten years at the very least. It sits in a strip mall on 86th Street in the strip that I referred to as “not the Outback strip mall but the other one”.
Mediterrano Cafe is only open for lunch, so that fact alone makes it a little inconvenient, but worth it. Keep in mind that it is a buffet with a menu that rotates daily, but that is part of the charm. Because this was our first visit, the owner gave us a tour of that day’s buffet offerings. He explained each item, most of the dishes on the left cart were vegetarian, and most of the right cart had chicken and lamb dishes. He also pointed out that the lentil soup was too thick and that he needed to thin it out a little, and that one of the items was misnamed.
My strategy was to take just a smidgen or one morsel of each offering so that I could sample the whole buffet. I ended up with, in no particular order, lentil salad, tabouli, navy bean salad, falafel, eggplant salsa, cabbage salad, chicken kabob, gyro, egg lemon chicken, dolma, and coconut cake. All were wonderful, but I went back for the tabouli, cabbage salad, and navy bean salad. My strategy worked. I was able to sample just about everything and I could still walk out of the restaurant under my own power.
Dave’s View: There will be a time where simple, plain, and honest service will not only make your day, it will transform you. How, you may say?
Have you ever had a really miserable day and one person comes along and does something so ordinary to help you out? It was a task so simple, you didn’t even recognize that it was a kind gesture. You went about your business throughout the day only to find out at the end of the day, you paid it forward without even knowing it. This is what happened at Mediterrano Cafe in the Castleton area.
Andrea and I walked into the restaurant and we placed our coats on a nearby table. There was a gentleman cleaning off a table and I plainly asked, “Do we just grab a plate and go?” He replied, “I take it you haven’t been here before? Here follow me!” He proceeded to take us up to the buffet and explain all the dishes and whether of not they were Turkish, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean. He even had the honesty to tell us that one of the items had too much liquid in it and he had to change it. Everything in his buffet had labels identifying the item, but to have someone go over each and every one is outstanding. Never had this happened to me and it will probably be a long time before it happens again.
So now, if you’ve read past posts, you noticed, I don’t like buffets in particular. But here I go again, damn it, another fantastic buffet in Indiana! That’s what I said. The buffet at Mediterrano Cafe is excellent.
From the top of the picture going clockwise: Dolmas, Chicken Kabob, Tabouli, Hummus, Cabbage Salad, Lentil Salad, and in the middle, Falafel. All of them were fantastic, my favorite being the Cabbage Salad, and I hate cabbage. The Cabbage Salad is spicy and oily and pairs well with the other items on the plate. In second would be the Tabouli with its cracked wheat and spices that tasted like dirt, but the dirt you want to eat. Highly addictive! In third is the Falafel. Nice fried small disks of chickpeas. Brown on the outside, greenish-yellow on the inside. Take your family to this restaurant, give your boy a plate of Falafel, tell him its fried snot and he’ll love it! With girls, I don’t know, ask Andrea?
The interior is slightly boring as you can see in the pictures, but what can you expect from a place that is only open for four hours a day. 11AM to 2 PM Monday thru Friday. 11AM to 3PM on the weekends. Which gets me to the only concern I had with the place: The Price. The buffet on the weekends will set you back $13. It is a bit pricey for a buffet, but the food is the top of the line. I believe the restaurant charges a high amount because they’re not opened 10-12 hours a day. It’s only four hours. Fours hours of high quality food, cook then, eat now! Don’t wait, just go!
Oh, by the way, you probably thought I forgot about the “paying it forward without even knowing it” quote in the second paragraph. (You’re right, I almost forgot.) I was in the grocery store later that day and virtually once every two months, I have to help a short woman who can’t reach the top shelf to get an item down. So here I am again getting down an item for a woman. The woman was so thrilled by the gesture, and I was thinking to myself, “What’s the big deal?”
You see, the small insignificant things that you do throughout the day, don’t seem that insignificant to the other person. It always comes back around.
Pay it forward, it’s only $13 of deliciousness. Plus, you’ll get your $13 back. It always comes back around.
Service: 9.75 Food: 9 Ambiance: 7 Total: 25.75 out of 30
$25-$30 without adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages.