By the East County Eater
Mediterraneo Italiano Bistro & Bar, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine 91901 (619)445-9902 http://mediterraneobistro.com/
March 24, 2014 (Alpine) –It’s been five years since the East County Eater first reviewed the Mediterraneo in Alpine, in a story titled “A Delightful Find in Alpine.” Now there are new owners and a new head chef with a menu focused on authentic Italian cuisine, raising the bar from “delightful” to “magnifico.”
The new owners are Vincenzo Corce and Salvatore Ercolano. Originally from Sicily, Vincenzo is a seasoned culinary industry professional. “For the last 20 years I worked in the downtown Gaslamp District and Little Italy, before that in Sicily, then New Jersey,” he said. Salvatore is also a 25-year restaurateur in San Diego.
Why Alpine? Because Vincenzo and Salvatore share “a passion for great food—and Alpine appreciates great food,” Vincenzo said.“We “We are authentic. We have an Italian chief, Jean Pierre Gianpiero, fantastico – he is very good at what he does, very passionate. All day long he is thinking about food.“
There is also a third partner, Gilberto Frank, who was energetically greeting customers, taking orders and generally overseeing operations like a conductor with an orchestra. His enthusiasm was infectious--and with good reason considering the new menu .
“There is a lot more pasta and sp,e new dishes such as Risotto with shrimps in a creamy spicy brandy sauce. The dish is called Gamberoni alla Diavola,” Vincenzo explains.
Another is Carciofi alla Guidea: artichokes sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley and basil. My friend and I had that, along the Italian Tio – rice soufflé, Bruschetta al Pomodoro Sicilian and eggplant caponata (with olives and onions served cold). These were delectable appetizers, seasoned to perfection.
The wine list is still one of the best in town. Crowd pleasing California house wines from Beringer and world class Italian wines like Barbera Asti Superiore and Michele Chiarlo Italian red which paired perfectly with our entrées Rigotoni Emiliani made with mushroom, fresh meat sauce and ricotta cheese, as well as the Chicken Marsala in a wine sauce that just made my taste buds stand up and yell bravo.
I should mention that you also can get gluten-free pizza crusts, breads and even pasta.
Desert was chocolate lava cake with strawberries—a heavenly concoction. On a tip from a customer, we had the Pistachio ice cream with crème de mint liquor.
In addition to enhanced food offerings, the new owners have invested in remodeling upgrade. The ambience is upscale yet comfortable, with a dash of European flair.
The Mediterraneo is only getting better and better--an authentic Italian food gem in wild west Alpine. Encore!
East County San Diego provides a rich and varied culinary experience. The East County Eater is on a mission to discover and highlight these gems. No back-country Bar and Grill is too remote, no specialty food restaurant tucked away in some tiny strip mall is too obscure for this voracious eater.
Food is my obsession and East County is my beat. Traveling anonymously, sometimes with a group of eaters, I’ll leave no plate unturned to find and evaluate the wide variety of eating experiences available to our readers. It’shard work, but someone has to do it! Stay tuned – the East County Eater is on the prowl.