Delicious Meats at Mediterranean Exploration Company

I had a big craving for some juicy succulent meat. I thought about going to a steakhouse, but what I really wanted were some small bites to satisfy my craving, and I couldn’t decide between whether I wanted steak, fried chicken, or lamb. Why not all?

Enter my stop at Mediterranean Exploration Company, also known as M.E.C. or MEC, for what I think are the best meats at Mediterranean Exploration Company’s menu. I have previously written about them during their preview party where I got to sample a lot of their dishes. I’ve since been back a few times as they’ve found their groove in the past year since opening in mid-summer. Unless you go there when the sun is up, keep in mind it’s a pretty dark, shadowed restaurant in the evenings which gives it a feel that is romantic but also a hint of old world European with its dimness and echoes of community conversation around you as part of the background of your experience.

One of my favorite cocktails I like to start off with is the Spanish Diplomat with lustau palo cortado sherry, dolin blanc vermouth, benedictine, boker’s bitters, marcona almond and orange oil. This sipper makes me feel exotic and complicated and I pretend I’m in Casablanca. The reward for finishing my glass is the almond, which is mentioned many times in the Bible, as a symbol of hope and promise and overall has a lot of ties to stories in the Mediterranean. It just seems perfect for MEC, and every time I see the cocktail I gaze at it because it seems to glow like a golden chalice.
Mediterranean Exploration Company cocktail of Spanish Diplomat with lustau palo cortado sherry. dolin blanc vermouth. benedictine. boker's bitters. marcona almond. orange oil Mediterranean Exploration Company cocktail of Spanish Diplomat with lustau palo cortado sherry. dolin blanc vermouth. benedictine. boker's bitters. marcona almond. orange oil

Another good cocktail here is the Gold Dinar cocktail, with four roses yellow bourbon, lemon, honey and aleppo pepper. Very refreshing but with a teeny bite.

So, I got a bit distracted when I ordered. I had intended to have meats, and I was thinking of ordering a tartare… but I couldn’t resist a Mezza of Hellenic Republic Saganaki with figs, olive oil, and lemon. They don’t light it on fire and shout Opa! at your table here like at many other Greek restaurants, but sharing that slightly warmed cheese doused in lemon juice is a good memory of when I used to live just a block from Greektown in Chicago, and I remember saganaki and skordalia being my first discoveries into real Greek food after fast food gyros. Sadly, on a more recent visit it seems like they took this off the menu. If you ever see it as a special of some sort, get it!
Mediterranean Exploration Company Mezza of Hellenic Republic Saganaki  with figs. olive oil. lemon.

Then it was time for the reason I was here: fried chicken, lamb, steak. The fried chicken here is a nice small dish with prefect crispy skin and soft tender moist meat inside, dished up as fried chicken with aleppo pepper and honey and a few cubes of beets. Perfect for 2 people, or at most 4 (but best with 2) – if you have more in your party, do yourselves a favor and order more than 1 order.
Mediterranean Exploration Company Fried Chicken  with aleppo pepper and honey

Same thing with this lamb, which I count among the best in Portland: simply grilled Greek lamb chops with oregano, garlic, and lemon, and you get 2 chops to your plate if you order the half order, which is what you see below. Very garlicky and always grilled perfectly to medium rare.
Mediterranean Exploration Company Greek Lamb Chops  grilled with oregano. garlic. lemon

Then on to the Hanger Steak with caper and garlic. As a side to help with the flavors of garlic and salt and fire, the Mejadara with rice, lentils, and crispy fried onion is a great choice with its fun textures of soft and crispy. The only other thing I could think of that I would have wanted to make my proteins more complete would be an order of their grilled Octopus.
Mediterranean Exploration Company, Hanger Steak with caper. garlic Mediterranean Exploration Company, Mejadara with rice. lentils. fried onion

Finish off with this dessert of amazing Cardamom Ice Cream Affogato with turkish coffee, so good and you’ll each want your own.
Mediterranean Exploration Company dessert of Cardamom Ice Cream Affogato with turkish coffee

Have you been to Mediterranean Exploration Company? Do you have a favorite dish there? And what would be more likely your craving, fried chicken, lamb chops, or steak?



  1. I have yet to make it to MEC! I really need to get over there. Hope you had a great birthday!!!

  2. I have never been there. Looks amazing! I want some of that ice cream.

  3. I haven’t been there, but I would love to try the fried chicken and the steak — oh, and the ice cream, of course!

  4. I’ve only been for their grand opening. It was too crowded and I didn’t get to try a lot of food, so I really need to get back there and try more of their menu. The hangar steak looks amazing!

  5. Holy smokes, this is going on my to-eat-ASAP list! That all looks so good, I love a good sweet+spicy combo, and am recently obsessed with cardamom so that dessert sounds perfect! It’s a wonder why more places don’t have affogato on the dessert menu!

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