A fusion of Mediterranean and American cuisine at the Hidden Door Cafe
Hidden Door Cafe in Medford is a little difficult to find, but well worth the effort.
Situated in Cobblestone Village, 1263 N. Riverside Drive, Suite 4, the little eatery is off to the right from the parking lot. Inside the restaurant are five tables for diners, and three picnic tables for larger groups are placed in the courtyard. The outdoor seating area is dog-friendly for diners traveling with their pets or locals who want Rover to get a little sunshine.
Owner Teresa DeChance gave us a friendly greeting as we entered the cafe. She ran a restaurant in California for more than 18 years before moving to Oregon and opening the Hidden Door Cafe in August 2016.
Her emphasis is on Mediterranean food made with fresh ingredients from scratch, but she’s blended in some American influences to appeal to a larger range of diners. The cafe’s decor is simple with its white walls and small utilitarian tables. It’s the excellent food that is the star at this restaurant.
Assorted appetizers are available as a first course: creamy hummus with baby carrots or cucumbers; baba ghanoush — an eggplant dip whipped with tahini, spices and garlic; or tabbouleh, nutty cracked wheat mixed with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, fresh mint and parsley, and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.
Hearty sandwiches are the main course. We tried The Tuscan, made with a thick slice of fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes on grilled focaccia with pesto, red onions and leaf lettuce ($8.95); The Rogue with turkey breast, medium cheddar, sliced Fuji apples, red onion and leaf lettuce served on honey chai bread ($8.95); and in a nod to carnivores, the hot and hearty Hawaiian is a half-pound of thinly sliced, marinated tri-tip served on a grilled roll ($9.95).
The faint-hearted one among us ate half the sandwich for lunch and took the second half home for dinner. The rest of us — world-class eaters all — finished our sandwiches and ordered dessert.
The sandwich ingredients and the presentation of the plates — garnished with sliced mandarin orange and purple grapes — added to the dining experience. One eats with the eyes first, and attention to minor details shows an overall commitment to a pleasing experience.
Other sandwiches on the menu that sound tempting are the Veggie Garden with hummus, Roma tomatoes, sprouts, avocado, red onion and lettuce on focaccia ($8.95); the Rosemary Garlic Chicken sandwich is hot marinated chicken and thinly sliced potatoes served in a pita pocket with mayonnaise and lettuce; the falafel is vegetarian patties with lettuce, tomatoes and sliced pickles served in a pita pocket with tzatziki sauce; and the Athens-style gyros feature tender slices of gyro meat served on a flat Greek pita with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, tzatziki sauce and rice pilaf ($8.95).
A lineup of salads that would make delicious lunches include the Greek salad, lettuce topped with sliced gyro, feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, red onion and kalamata olives; the Dry Bleu and Fuji is mixed greens topped with crumbled blue cheese, sliced Fuji apple, walnuts and red onions; and the Mongolian Chicken is sliced, marinated chicken breast served on a bed of lettuce and topped with feta, tomato, cucumber, tabbouleh and toasted sesame. All are $10.95.
Takeout is available for those who’d like to eat at home or in the park, or for those who have to return to work.
DeChance also caters. Salads can be made for up to 25 people and served with assorted appetizers (hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh).
She’s distilled her many years of experience in the restaurant business into a small gem here in Medford, and now that I know about her cafe, I plan to make many more visits.
Hidden Door Cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Drop by or call ahead at 541-203-7711.