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Cheap Eats

By Traci Vogel

The Mediterranean
2281 The Alameda, Santa Clara
10am-8pm Mon-Sun
Take-out, catering

AT THE far end of The Alameda, near Santa Clara University, a hip little village of sorts seems to be forming. Right next door to Solid Grooves record store and alongside Alameda Archives--where obscure zines share shelf space with McSweeney's books and cult films--is a little deli: The Mediterranean.

The décor may not transport you, but the couscous and wraps here are a nice vacation from typical lunch fare. Beige walls face a gleaming deli case--mostly empty, on a recent late afternoon visit, perhaps depleted by the restaurant's catering arm--and seating consists of a few patio furniture-type tables.

Since the deli case fare was scarce, we chose from the overhead menu, which lists such regional Mediterranean favorites as the falafel wrap: crisp chickpea patties with lettuce, onions and tahini sauce wrapped in thin lavash ($4). Skimpy tahini was compensated for by a zesty tomato-based dipping sauce. Other available wraps include beef kebab ($6.50) and marinated chicken ($6.25). A Mediterranean Combo Plate allowed for grazing, with tasting portions of hummus, baba ghannoush, tabouli, and cucumber salad, alongside three falafels and a dolma--all for $6. The baba ghannoush could have been a lot spicier, but at this price we weren't about to complain. The falafel was delicious, and I ate the dolma in one bite.

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From the February 25-March 3, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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