I thought about Odysseus's epic journey while making my way through Mediterrano's menu. It's possible to have a remarkable meal at Mediterrano, which has been doing wonders with olive oil and lemons for more than a decade. But diners who order badly--or have the misfortune to be saddled with a horribly unskilled server, as I was on my first visit--are apt to emerge from the sunny dining room wondering what folks like so much about the place.
It's rare to find excellence and inexcusable errors coexisting as peacefully as they do at Mediterrano. While some restaurants can fairly be described as inconsistent, that's not the issue here: the good is reliably good, and the bad is unfailingly bad. To Mediterrano's credit, the good far outweighs the bad, but the restaurant's willingness to hang on to what's not working is a mystery worthy of an oracle.
On my second visit to Mediterrano, I asked our server whether he had any recommendations. He spoke glowingly of the lamb chops, praised the Chilean sea bass--and then dropped his voice to a whisper to confide, "I wouldn't recommend the mahi."
I asked about the paella, a dish offered in a variety of sizes, including a celebratory $100 portion designed to feed six people.