With white tablecloths and peach napkins folded into country-club dining-room fans, there’s isn’t much about Mediterranean 2000 that brings to mind the coastal climes of Portugal. But when a bowl of marble-sized green and black olives and a basket of Portuguese rolls hit your table, the Iberian mood sets in.
Each page of Mediterranean 2000’s menu encourages diners to try their sangria — and, with its sizable chunks of apple and orange, it’s a good choice. Of course, you could also go for a glass of house wine, or maybe a frosty Sagres lager.
Oversized green-lipped mussels are sauteed with sliced garlic and parsley, but the flaming chourico, a girthy link set aflame table-side in a pig-shaped terra-cotta terrine, is a showstopper. Inside the taut casing are die-sized cubes of paprika-scented pork alongside alabaster globules of fat.
There are paellas for sharing and plenty of ways to enjoy the traditional bacalhau (codfish), but it would be a shame to miss Mediterranean 2000’s Portuguese-style steak. Without any menu description and only a question of temperature from the dapper waiter, the plate that hits the table is another showstopper. Served in a clay pot, this steak-and-eggs-on-steroids sits atop a bed of thinly sliced fried potatoes, olives, a gardinera of pickled bell peppers and cauliflower, and is topped with a slice of grilled ham and a frilly-edged fried egg. A pool of rich, savory-sour sauce sits at the bottom of the cooking vessel. “Garlic sauce,” the waiter says. Tomato? Vinegar? “There are lots of ingredients,” he tells us. Secret sauce, indeed.
Meals end with a wobbly, caramel-topped flan and an elegant parfait of vanilla pudding, whipped cream and crumbled Bolacha Maria digestive biscuits. Or maybe an espresso with brandy, the preferred mid-day pick-me-up for the crew of contractors who lunch here daily.
Mediterranean 2000 | 8026 Bustleton Ave., 215-742-2000. Hours: Daily, noon-11 p.m. Appetizers: $9-$10, entrees: $13 - $35.
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