Other appetizers were equally successful: bacon and dates are a softball combination, but Mediterrano elevates its version by stuffing Medjool dates with house-made chorizo, smoked bacon, and a garlicky nut sauce before cooking them. A salmon carpaccio was so heavily brined that the salt obliterated the subtle flavors of citrus and tequila flaunted on the menu, but a roasted artichoke spritzed with lemon and olive oil posed a fine tribute to spring. And the grilled haloumi with a strong umami flavor and a sweet pepper coulis was a revelation worth repeating.
Among the entrees, Odysseus might make a detour for the bucatini alla rustica, an irresistible pairing of wonderfully spicy sausage and banana peppers with the woefully under-utilized spaghetti-with-a-hole pasta shape. And the rack of lamb, slathered with a sweet onion sauce, was faultless--easily the best lamb I've tasted in town.
Mediterrano's olive oil is made in Sparta, Greece, according to owner John Roumanis's specifications. A staple here since before most Ann Arbor restaurants had the audacity to suggest anything but butter belonged on bread, it provides the foundation for many dishes and makes a terrific accompaniment to Mediterrano's crusty bread when the complementary taramosalata runs out. Young and full-flavored, it may soon appear on local grocery shelves: Roumanis says he's in talks with Plum Market, the Produce Station, and Hiller's.