Mother's Dumplings update
Just went to MD for a casual Saturday brunch today. In case you haven't been in a while, they have increased their prices. I'd guess $.50 - $1.00 per item. I say good for them, as the menu is still a great value. I'm sure all the increased traffic caught them off guard for a while. Hopefully, the price increase helps them stay in business indefinitely!
The da lu mien was perfect on a cold February day! We also bought some stewed beef noodles home with us, which I just had for a snack. The noodles don't hold up too well to reheating, but it was still delish. Brought back memories of one of my favourite comfort meals as a child.
I'm glad others also feel that MD is over hyped. I went, tried the da-lu noodles and thought...meh. The dumplings are okay, I like the weird potato salad, but I really thought the onion pancake was terrible...thick, greasy and lacking in layers. I think (after reading HL's post) that because I spent time in the out skirts of Beijing, I've been to many equally homey dumpling places--with better quality. Overall, it's okay, I'll go back but its not my fav.
I just went to MD's last night too, and good thing for us (party of 3) there was one more table at the back, yes, the one where when they go to the fridge, the fridge door hits your chair. Is it ever cramped in there!
We didnt find it too spectacular either, but I am more impressed by the homey-ness of it. I find that their food isnt that WOW either, but I think its 'coz they dont add MSG to it. Thats great that they dont, but then again, theres nothing to WOW about... Are other chinatown dumpling places like this? This is my first time going for northern chinese cuisine in the city, so I cant really compare.
Oh, and I wasnt that happy 'coz they didnt have the onion pancake! But in the end, we didnt mind 'coz we were filled up to the top with a steamed pork and chive, boiled pork and dill, and a da lu noodle. The da lu noodle was the thing I really, REALLY had to try since sooooooooo many Chowhounds recommended it. Perhaps it was hyped up too much, but still, we didnt find it THAT spectacular.. I love the fact that its made with hand-made noodles though..
So, can anyone explain the MD Phenomenon??? Why do so many people like it that much, as opposed to other dumpling/northern Chinese places?
This restaurant embodies CH IMO. This is what it's all about. It's not about obsessive desires of perfection. It's not about "brilliant" "creativity". If it were, we would only be discussing the finest restaurants, using the finest ingredients. How can one compare foie gras at colborne lane to ground beef at randys? Its about love. And Mothers Dumpling has this in abundance.
I brought take-out to a friend and they didn't get it either. Then I took them there and they were blown away. Get it now?
BTW, the da-lu noodles can stand alone. They have excellent texture in the noodles, a rich meaty broth, and an overall nice balance of flavour. They are, to many, exceptional "comfort food".
I've eaten my way up and down Dundas+Spadina+the east end and find Mother's a real anomaly. It's really "square" home-style food, low-key, no drama or flourish but solid and filling.That's hard to duplicate and Mother's has a lock on that "favourite aunt's kitchen table" vibe that many find so attractive.