hungry mother suggestions
- cockscomb Feb 22, 2009 06:48 AM
what are the most current favorites at hungry mother?
Second the shrimp & grits. Absolutely sublime. FYI: It is listed on the menu as an appetizer but you can get it as an entree (or is it the other way around?) Either way, you have the option to get a small or larger plate --just make sure you get it!
But honestly, in my opinion, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu there. It's all delicious. Enjoy.
Hungry Mother's No. 53 is my favorite cocktail in the city right now; sailor jerry rum, yellow chartreuse, lemon juice. Very smooth. Not too boozy. No. 42 was a hit with Mr. P; gin, dry vermouth, bitters and honey syrup. And all the dishes we had were terrific. Only complaint – they were out of the Trout I so desired.
My SO and I were there about a week ago ... and i told the waitress that I like to have a campari soda before a fine meal ... and left it up to the bartender to make me a drink (theres a separate charge for whatever the bartender wants to make for you) - and was extremely pleased by the "negroni" alternative (with port as the sweetner). it was an awesome and creative drink. I am sure that they can make anything you like - but every now and then I like to give the bartender the chance to shine within some general guidelines of course - and shine he did!
What is it about Hungry Mother that works so well? None of the dishes we had last night were flashy or particularly innovative. Yet the meal, as a whole, was deeply intensely satisfying.
Take the "mixed greens" salad for instance - I can honestly say that I have not had a better salad in months anywhere and at $8, seemingly very generous - nothing particularly odd on the ingredients list taken in isolation - green (ripe) tomatoes, spiced pecans, farro, goat cheese, ok - maybe the kumquats (but the United Kumquat Farmers Society finally seems to have its marketing wing in full gear, they seem to be everywhere this year) - Meyer Lemon vinaigrette. Yet the care in picking the greens, frisee that is properly frisked - the pecans playing off the greens, playing off the nutty farro crunch like organically acceptable Bac-Os, playing off the tartness of the dressing. Just so casual about it all, but so delicious.
The fried oysters - perfectly fried, lush underneath, the "kohl[rabi]slaw" another casually thrown off pile of perfect counterpoint to the tabasco.
Trout - simple piece of fish - nothing complicated, just expertly grilled - salty skin counteracted by a generous heap of the vegetables, which features sunchokes, with a few almonds thrown in for good measure.
Gnocchi - Read a review of "10 Downing" in the NYT describing how the mushrooms now have a bigger say in a similar dish - the version here is the same way - the gnocchi, substantial but humbly petite so as to overshadow the mix of delicate mushrooms.
Dessert continues the trend - peanut pie with sorghum ice cream - like a pecan pie, but so much better with the salty/savory flavor of peanuts to counterpoint against the sweetness of the filling in a way that a pecan could never do - the unfamiliar and slightly mysterious flavor of the sorghum ice cream, the satisfying cracker/cookie crunch of the crust.
Coffee in a glass.
The peanut. Trout. Mushroom. Oyster. This is all so...basic. And yet, everything was perfection. The whole truly is bigger than the sum of its parts. And it's more than simply comfort food. When seated in the dining room, you're safely cloistered from the hustle of bodies in that tiny kitchen - But maybe it's that energy of so many talented people crammed into such a tiny space that's the difference. Whatever that vibe is in the kitchen I sense is embodied in the food. Maybe that's it. Could Hungry Mother be serving the sexiest food in Boston right now?
re: Bob Dobalina
BD, maybe it is just those little differences (the farro, the kohlrabi, the sunchokes... peanut pie instead of pecan) I was at the cape this weekend and had dinner at Scargo cafe in Dennis. Had the panko crusted scallops for dinner. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the serving was generous (I think at least a dozen scallops) but the sides were so boring: rice and spaghetti squash. It made for a very beige plate of food. I was just thinking that if Scargo just added some more interesting sides and ingredients it could really up its game.
Those little differences you describe in your post really hit the nail on the head. We want comfort food but we don't want to be completely bored.
re: Bob Dobalina
Extermely well written - and all i can say is that everything we ate was wonderful. I ate most of that salad - and I normally have no more than a forkful of salad!
One slight warning though - if there is a whole fish entree, you had better know how to eat fish that has bones in it. The fish was wonderful and we enjoyed it immensely - but had a few bones in it.
re: Bob Dobalina
I think it's because every element is so carefully considered - each item on the plate is not an item in and of itself but a piece to a puzzle that is more the sum of its parts. I've been to HM I don't know how many times (oddly enough, I was also there last night) and all the dishes I've had - er...just about all of the dishes on the menu - have had the same synergistic quality to them. There's obviously a lot of thought that went into their conception and as a result they work on a higher level than just protein, starch, vegetable, even though that's essentially what they are.
I just went to Hungry Mother last night and they did not have shrimp and grits on the menu and I was pretty disappointed not to have tried it. I enjoyed the food very much last night... my boyfriend and I ended up splitting the Pimiento cheese, the beef tongue canape, the fried oysters, the mussels, and the gnocchi and chicken for entrees. We ended with a very yummy moon pie. The two entrees were definitely the standout dishes of the meal. I wasn't a huge fan of the fried oysters because I couldn't even find the oyster in these little fried balls of bread. Overall I think Hungry Mother has good food at reasonable prices, but I don't know if I can fall into they hype of this place. I did not fall in love like so many others have apparently .
Here's the low down:
* Result - Really, freakin' awesome. You won't be disappointed.
* Location - 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge
* Reservations - Necessary - the restaurant only seats 55 and the bar area is small. We booked a few days in advance on Open Table and even then they only had 5:00 and 9:00 P.M. slots.
* Parking - The Kendall Square Cinema garage is across the street - the restaurant validates for $5, or if you are going to a movie, the cinema validates for $3.
* Ambience/Decor - Hungry Mother is "a cozy, intimate dining space with butcher-block tables, water served in mason jars, a funky bar, kitschy décor, and southern flair [that] combine to give Hungry Mother a down-home yet upscale vibe."
* Drinks - Hungry Mother's drink menu seems to follow the growing trend: the return to the "classic cocktail." The house cocktails are listed by number and not by name.
* The Food/Menu - Chef Barry Maiden combines his classical French training with his love of southern food and his commitment to using local and seasonal foods. The result? Southern comfort, french fusion. Absolutely delicious.
* Cost - Moderate - reasonable prices. The dinner menu has four sections: "To Tide You Over" (small amuse bouche) plates cost $3-4, the first courses cost $8-11, the mains are mostly under $20, with two priced at $26-27 and the "Can you Pass That" (sides) are $4. Desserts range from $6-7.
* Service - No complaints here. Our waitress was attentive.
* Bonus - The restaurant runs a movie promotion with the Kendall Cinema. Tell the host(ess) ahead of time what movie you wish to see and voila! the tickets are added to your bill and delivered to your table. No need to wait in the very long lines at the Cinema. AND, the tickets are discounted by $1.25 each.*
*As a side note: we saw "Gamorrah" at the Kendall. Skip it, it was awful.
1. No. 42 - $10 - Greylock gin, dry vermouth, boston bittahs and local honey syrup
2. Bartender's Choice - $10 - Chambord, sparkling wine and vodka
3. No. 51 - $9 - hot buttered scotch, with real butter.
4. Allan Benton's Country Ham - $4 - Little mini biscuits that melt in your mouth.
5. Shrimp & Grits - $10 - Perfectly meshed flavors
6. Cornmeal Catfish - $18 - Crunchy with loads of seasoning
7. Cornbread with Sorghum Butter - $4- Get anything with sorghum butter!
8. Virginia Peanut Pie w/ Sorghum Ice Cream - $7 - Like pecan pie, but with peanuts and 100x better than your average sticky gooey pecan pie.