As much as I love trying new restaurants, like most people I have my “go-to” eateries for most every type of cuisine. For Mediterranean food, my go-to places have been Byblos in Ft. Worth and Al Amir in Dallas, both Lebanese oriented. I now have a new addition to that list closer to home: Café Medi in Hurst.
Café Medi has repeatedly come up in conversation with friends as a great place to go for Mediterranean fair. One big draw is that it’s BYOB only, something more common in Italian fare. When the hummus craving hit earlier this week, I decided to give it a try. An open invitation out to some friends who were familiar with the restaurant showed promising results, as any who couldn’t join in on the mid-week dinner made it clear they wanted to go soon. Good signs of things to come.
We met about 7:30 on Wednesday night at the unassuming shotgun restaurant perched on the end of a strip shopping center. Since seating for around three-dozen inside was full, we had to wait ten or so minutes for an available table despite it being mid-week. During our time there we saw an off duty waitress come in and stop at a few different tables to talk to regulars she knew, another indication of a loyal fan base. Once seated, (with our array of wines) service was prompt and attentive until the end of the meal, as our waitress was taking her dinner break in the back. Where this can sometimes be off putting as a customer, this more added to the family establishment feel rather than detracting from the meal.
For openers we went with both Hummus and Saganaki, which is Greek style fried cheese. I’ve seen Saganaki fixed a couple of ways, both breaded and the classic (though American) Ouzo flambé style, which is how Café Medi serves theirs. Brought to the table on a metal plate, two cheese wedges are doused with the Greek aperitif Ouzo before being set aflame tableside. The flames are doused with fresh squeezed lemon juice, leaving a wonderfully golden brown crusted cheese cooked just short of melting. An excellent way to start a meal.
For the main course we ordered Mousaka, Mixed Grill Combo and the Lamb Chop special. Mousaka is a casserole similar to a shepherd’s pie, with layers of ground beef, eggplant and whipped potatoes topped with a white sauce and marinara. I’ve had Mousaka before and it didn’t have me clamoring for more, but this was very delicious. The potatoes make up the largest portion of the dish, and were so buttery and creamy they felt like a treat more than a filler. Combined with the eggplant and beef it was a very enjoyable meal. The Mixed Grill, a combination of beef, chicken and ground beef and lamb went over very well, as did the lamb chops, which had my friend picking at the bone to make sure none was missed.
The portions were all very generous, and we each had substantial leftovers for the next day. My Mousaka didn’t make it past breakfast. For our four entrees and two appetizers it was about $85, not at all unreasonable.
I’m glad to find a new neighborhood restaurant to add to my personal rotation. I’ll be back to Café Medi very soon for some great food and a hookah with friends (and wine) in tow.