Bright light shining into the dining room, the owner of Mediterranean Seafood & Grill opens the doors to the public for the first time. Within minutes, the restaurant fills up, customers admiring the stunningly clean decor. Service is quick, food is upscale and customers are satisfied. And day after day for the next month, the restaurant fills up with both new and returning customers, excited to try high-quality Mediterranean cuisine in a vibrant, intimate atmosphere.
Mediterranean Seafood and Grill, which opened in late August where Ayhan’s used to be at 132 Middle Neck Rd. in Great Neck Plaza, specializes in traditional Greek, Turkish and Italian fare with a modern twist. Although similar to the Ayhan’s menu, Mediterranean Seafood & Grill features a larger array of seafood and meat entrées as well as a small Italian-inspired pasta selection.
The ambiance is among the most impressive of all of Great Neck’s eateries: Tables are covered with a royal blue tablecloth, walls are painted with scenes from Mykonos, plants line the dining room and the walls and columns resemble Athenian architecture. Service is attentive and rather chatty.
The menu combines traditional Greek and Turkish options with modern American and Italian influences. Small plates ($8 to $15) consists of selections from cold
dips like freshly blended hummus and babaganoush to grilled octopus to Italian mozzarella with tomato slices. Salads ($11 to $15) range from traditional Greek salad to an American-inspired quinoa salad with goat cheese and sunflower seeds. Soups ($5 to $7) range from seafood bisque to Avgolemono with chicken and rice in a pungent lemon broth.
Entrées, served with choice of salad or soup, rice and vegetables, consist of a wide selection of seafood ($19 to $26) like bronzini, rainbow trout and crab-stuffed flounder, meats ($17 to $27) such as baby lamb chops, sirloin steak and Italian-inspired chicken Marsala, and pasta ($17 to $23) like linguini with clam sauce and rigatoni Bolognese. Sandwiches ($10 to $14) range from lamb gyro with French fries to shrimp kebab with sweet potato.
I ordered a lamb gyro with lettuce, onion and tzatziki sauce with thick-cut French fries. The lamb was moist and well-seasoned and the tzatziki sauce had a nice garlic flavor. My party also ordered the lobster ravioli, which was cooked perfectly al dente and was filled with delicate, slightly sweet lobster meat. We also ordered the chicken kabob entrée with sautéed vegetables and steamed lemon potatoes. The chicken was juicy and had a slight peppery taste, and the potatoes, served in tomato sauce, were delicious.
Although maybe a bit on the pricey side, the high-quality ingredients and painstaking attention to detail both on the plate and in the dining room will surely encourage small and large parties to taste authentic Mediterranean dishes not found elsewhere in Nassau County.