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Hungry Mother in Cambridge

m
meg1641 Aug 2, 2008 03:33 PM

My dh and I went for dinner at Hungry Mother in Cambridge on July 15th. We arrived just before 6 p.m. without a reservation and were happy to sit at the bar. We scored two seats on the side, mine right by the window in the corner and the bartender was fantastic.

We started our meal with drinks - a sweetened iced tea for dh and a beer from Gloucester for me. I wanted an unsweetened iced tea but sadly they do not have them so settled for a large ice water with my beer. Our appetizers were the beef tongue costini (so amazing), and the pimento cheese. Next we shared an order of shrimp and grits and after our bartender told us about the special salad that evening which was a beet with horseradish viniagrette we ordered that and shared it as well. My husband who dislikes beets was very happy with the salad and we both enjoyed the shrimp & grits so much.

For entrees I ordered the Flat Iron Steak with yukon potatoes and carmelized onions and my dh ordered the cornmeal catfish with collard greens and rice. My steak was perfectly cooked but my dh's catfish was amazing. We also ordered a side of the grits with tasso ham to share.

Desserts were also fantastic. I had the chocolate cake with the glass of milk - a true old fashioned cake and the milk was fantastic, cold and creamy. My dh had the lemon pana cotta.

We consider this one of the best meals we have had in a long time and are planning to get back there as soon as we can. We also met some nice people sitting at the bar and the bartender was knowledgeable and pleasant.

  1. k
    kron Aug 3, 2008 05:56 PM

    I recently went TWICE in 3 days, which is rare for me to do at a restaurant. One was planned, the other...well, a last minute decision given my friends living near Kendall/Central Square. Decor/space are nice and cozy...

    I'd have to say I agree with much of what Meg1641 has to say. Our overall experience was enjoyable. The deviled eggs are a must as everyone (and all reviews of the restaurant) says, coming in a grouping of 3. So order 2 if you have 4 people. Skip the catfish pate and sausage appetizer as it's nothing spectacular, though I do recommend the shrimp and grits like Meg. Had the catfish, excellent as Meg states. Chicken....eh...is chicken. Meaning to try the bluefish next time if it's still on the menu. The gnocchi was pretty solid. Get the chocolate cake with a glass of Milk!!! Tastes like being a kid again...such a great idea!

    The service is definitely...well...average. They aren't rude by any means, just...I don't know, I don't feel any connection with them at all nor do they make an effort to be engaging and conversational. I'd like to think I and my friends/girlfriend are pretty gregarious folk and are interested in food, knowing what it is, etc...It's a bit strange for a restaurant attempting to be a "neighborhood" spot like their previous Rachel's Kitchen venture in Bay Village. Maybe it was luck of the draw that the 2 servers we had in the visits just were not memorable. In my mind, restaurant experiences are often made even better with engaging service...or at least some small talk. And we didn't get bread our entire first visit....what?! I guess i forgot about it after devouring that tasty deviled egg. But, I'm thinking we should try the bar next time to get the real flavor of this cute neighborhood place and perhaps get a better people (server) vibe. I will say the hostesses (owners, etc) are very friendly...

    On a side note...I like that they offer LARGE beers, even 750 mL to share with others...very cool.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kron
      p
      phoebek Aug 3, 2008 06:26 PM

      Good to know about the beers. We had a first experience at HM on Wednesday night, after having tried to get weekend reservations on a couple of occasions and totally striking out. Neither kron nor meg1641 mentioned the boiled peanuts, which we (party of 4: DH, another couple and I) tried. We decided that they must be an acquired taste, since none of us liked them (hard to get past the texture. . . ). We heartily agree about the shrimp and grits app--one of the highlights of the meal--and the catfish pate/sausage app-ho-hum--next time we'll try the oysters. Kron, we did get bread, and though it was pretty good bread, it was doled out, one piece at a time, to each diner, which I found somewhat annoying. Why not just put a basketful on the table?

      For mains, 2 of us had the catfish, and 2 had the bluefish, and everyone loved what they got. Desserts: one chocolate cake with the glass of milk--cake was great, and one blueberry shortcake--ditto.

      Service was fine: the server definitely tried to sell us more, more, more ("another drink?", "any sides?" "another bottle of wine?") and she wasn't especially chatty, but did a masterful job explaining what rice middlins were--up to telling us where the restaurant got them. Another plus, and maybe because it was Wednesday--one of the owners stopped by a couple of times to see how things were going (and no one in our party was a friend or even an acquaintance).

      Cutting to the chase: great first experience, and we would return. My only concerns are: the (small) size of the menu. I loved the catfish, but would like to have other seafood options besides bluefish, and I'm not a huge red meat eater; and the noise level was painful, despite the fact that we were seated in a (relatively) quiet corner.

      1. re: phoebek
        Bob Dobalina Aug 4, 2008 03:39 AM

        RE: boiled peanut texture - Do you think it would have helped if you thought "edamame" rather than peanut? (Or PEAnut rather than peaNUT?)

        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          MC Slim JB Aug 4, 2008 05:31 AM

          Hungry Mother gave me my first taste of boiled peanuts, which to me were weird but really good. I've had them a couple of times now. Not everyone in my party liked them, though.

          Frugal bread distribution is a cost control measure for margin-pressured restaurants everywhere. I'm guessing you'll see more of it going forward.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            p
            phoebek Aug 4, 2008 09:37 AM

            Maybe, but I like peanuts much better than peas, so I kept thinking pea-mush.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              p
              phoebek Aug 4, 2008 09:43 AM

              Maybe, but I much prefer peanuts to peas. Glad I tried them, though.

              1. re: phoebek
                Bob Dobalina Aug 5, 2008 06:19 AM

                It just helped me to think...a legume is a legume is a legume...

        2. r
          reedsox Aug 4, 2008 11:33 AM

          really relaxed fun place, great food and very reasonable price wise, was full on a tuesday night, and although we had reservations waited a little bit. definetly "in" right now and worth the trip to kendal square (cambridge) they will set you up with movie tickets/parking at the indie cinemas next door if you want them to.

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