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Nov 16, 2009 11:13 AM

Hungry Mother

Ate here last night and sadly I have to say that I was really disappointed. Our first meal a few months ago was nice and flavorful but the followup meal . . . oh my! Undercooked corn (maze) in the seafood dish, black beans with French gnocchi - so didn't work. The fritters were black and totally over fried. The crab was uninspired. I still liked the tongue canape but the rest of the experience left me cold and unhappy. Too bad. I thought this might be a go to place for fun, flavorful (albeit a bit heavy) food. Not anymore.

Hungry Mother
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

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  1. I would suggest that the corn was actually hominy which is dried corn, so it is not going to have the consistency of fresh - I *think* what you're calling undercooked is actually the starchiness of the thing.

    1. I never found Hungry Mother to be all that. Some good items, but overall, meh.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lola22

        i completely agree. We ordered many items but it just did not wow me in any way shape or form. i chalked it up to not being a young foodie having this food for the first time. oooh, i'm expecting those stones to start at any minute!

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          No stones, but perhaps you can explain what you mean. Provocative statements are fine, but more effective if they make sense.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            I'm with hcybg on this one. In particular, I don't understand the ad hominem attack on the restaurant's clientele, since I have never seen any indication that its target demographic is "young foodies having this food for the first time." (How young do you have to be to not have had bistro-style comfort food before, anyway?)

        2. Sorry you had a lackluster experience CTGirl. I have always had a great experience at HM. No need to rehash my praise until they deliver again on my next visit. I will say that I live in Cambridge but not quite walking distance. That might sweeten the deal for me at least for multiple visits.

          I have to ask... did you get dessert? I often skip desserts when eating out ( not because I don't have a sweet tooth, I absolutely do,) but I prefer a homespun dessert to a rich and refined fancy desserts. BUT at Hungry Mother I never skip because they remind me of sitting in my neighbor's kitchen (my mom can't bake) as a kid after she just whip some scrumptious comforting concoction. Specifically I'm talking about their chocolate cake and chocolate creme tart...haven't tried the buttermilk pie.

          Gasp! I just looked at the online menu and the chocolate cake is on it again. Must go back. But then it raised another question for me: Why were there blackbeans in your gnocchi? That's not what the menu says

          2 Replies
          1. re: heypielady

            Well, I'm giving praise again. I just went Saturday night with my folks. We sat at the 4-top in the bar since we didn't have reservations. Man! that place was completely packed by 5:30. We had the boiled peanuts to start. I can't believe I haven't got them before. I really liked them... mushy texture and all. We also split the shrimp and grits and the house-made sausage special. That sausage was very delicious.

            I got the pork shoulder. My mom got the sausage as a meal. My dad got the striped bass and ate every bite before I got a chance to taste and Mr. got the hominy stew. I tasted a little of that and it was good but just didn't compare to my tender pork shoulder and the delightful salty porky broth it was bathing in.

            And yes I even had room for dessert. As I mentioned earlier that chocolate cake was on the menu but sadly it was different than the one I had in July of 2008. It was still good but just not as simple. Certainly not transporting. It had four cake layers instead of 2 and the frosting was more buttery. It was just fancier than I wanted it to be. So if you got to HM or have gone and off my recommendation got that cake... sorry... that is not what i was talking about.

            Finally a note on quality control. My dad, an avid home cook, had probably the best seat in the house as far as he was concerned because he could stare directly into the kitchen. He marveled at the sous-chef meticulously checking the temperature of every single sausage that left the kitchen. Dad loves to see people working hard with extraordinary focus (perhaps he finds them to be kindred spirits) and he couldn't stop gushing about the staff at HM.

            1. re: heypielady

              Wow, they did it again! I can't believe I haven't been to HM since my last post. Went Friday night for Mr.'s birthday. We started with the fried oysters with the frisee and grapefruit salad. I think it was on the table for a total of 2 minutes before we demolished it. salty, crunchy, bitter, tart, and spicy goodness (not brine-y though if you are looking for that kind of oyster taste). As soon as we had arrived the server told us there was a duck special so I snagged the last one. Mr. ordered the cassoulet. (The other special that night was an appetizer of chicken hearts... I didn't get it... I guess I'm not that adventurous after all.)

              The duck was lovely... I haven't had duck with a perfectly crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth duckfat like that in a long time... It was the kind of duck that makes you like duck in the first place. It was served with a nice vinegary fennel and blood orange salad, and a nice nutty farro. Mr. enjoyed his cassoulet which was more of a southern riff on a cassoulet... black eyed peas instead of flageolets... a deep smokiness to the broth.

              Once again the dessert delivered: a chocolate ganache and rum custard tart with a graham cracker crust. I would have picked up the plate and licked it if I weren't in public. It was perfectly balanced and not too sweet... delicious as always.

              One funny thing I've noticed about HM is that when Mr. and I go we never have wine. It's just not wine food to me..... we just have cocktails or beer. This time I had the 47 featuring apple brandy, bourbon, a giant ice cube and I don't know what else. It was great.

          2. I've not been for a few months, but I've loved the experience every time I've been. OTOH, they just got curbstomped at the southern smackdown @ ECG - they seriously had some of the worst dishes of the night. I don't think that's indicative of their day to day quality but I know that some of my companions (who have never been) are now not quite as eager to go to HM.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jgg13

              What was the southern smackdown @ ECG? I didn't hear a peep about that. Who participated? Who won?

              1. re: yumyum

                Pretty sure I saw Tupelo tweet that they won.

                1. re: yumyum

                  It was Monday and was sold out weeks in advance, so no wide promotion needed.


                  1. re: yumyum

                    ECG, Tupelo & Hungry Mother. Pictures & details on that facebook page. It was 3 courses (the old south, the current south, the south of the future) and each resto presented a dish for every course. Tupelo swept all three rounds and *really* kicked butt point wise on 2 of them.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      Thanks guys. This reminds me, I gotta get over to Tupelo. So much to eat, so little time.

                2. I was last at Hungry Mother in August (where does the time go?) and agree that it has declined since it opened. After my first 2-3 visits, I was RAVING about it, but the last couple of times, "meh."

                  Why is consistency so rare?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ginafly

                    I haven't been in quite awhile either. But, now that the Maine shrimp are in, I see they have that shrimp and grits dish on the menu. That's one craveable plate. It might be worth a return trip just for that.

                    1. re: justbeingpolite

                      Yup! we had the shrimp and grits. I hadn't had them before and they were indeed yummy.

                      1. re: heypielady

                        The shrimp and grits are quite nice with the Miane shrimp, though I was bummed that the tongue canape was not on the menu when I dined there about a week ago.