Friday, September 4, 2009

A First Visit to Hungry Mother, Cambridge

When Hungry Mother opened over a year ago, I was immediately taken with its story. A group of committed people, believing that they had what it takes to open a great restaurant, convinced friends and neighbors to invest even a few dollars towards their dream.  I am a romantic when it comes to tales like this and for their sake, I wanted it to do well. And it has. In fact Hungry Mother in Cambridge has done so well, that Chef Barry Maiden got the Food and Wine award for "Best New Chef" in July of 2009 and the restaurant made the Travel and Leisure list of "50 Best New American Restaurants" in May. I had also heard and read many stories from reviewers, bloggers and friends of great meals they had eaten there.

This meant that my friend (another foodie) and I had high expectations. And, it was so very good. Each dish, a twist on Southern dishes, reflected care, thoughtful use of ingredients and offered dishes that I haven't previously had before.

I was initially impressed with the bartender who took the time to explain a few of their featured drinks. I ultimately chose the No. 53: a combination of rum, yellow chartreuse and lemon juice. It was a perfect drink for a hot night.

We began the meal with the "Spicy Pimento Cheese", which was essentially a gussied up cheese ball.
It was comforting starter. But what I continue to replay was the absolutely delicious trout salad. It was served with crisped trout skin, creating a unique cracker. Typically trout can be strong and overpowering. However, by keeping the salt to a minimum it was a light and refreshing salad. I also loved the pickled radishes that played off the trout.

For main dishes we shared the Cornmeal catfish which was pretty fantastic. The breading was crisp and airy, and the red rice was flavorful. The Berkshire pork loin and BBQ rib were also good, but not quite as memorable as the other dishes.
However, it is the the cornbread that will keep me returning. The term cornbread doesn't really do justice to this side dish. It featured two pieces-a wedge and a corn bread stick
The outside was caramelized to a crisp golden, while the inside was cakey and just sweet enough. In fact, we loved the cornbread with the pimento spread.

We finished the meal with two desserts. The chamomile pot de creme went a bit beyond the traditional flan/pudding with the lingering scent of chamomile, while our green tomato cake was a filling end to the meal.
Hungry Mother tries to use local ingredients as much as possible, so their menu varies. The atmosphere has a nice balance of being upscale enough to know you have had a great night out, without being pretentious. They also offer validated parking at the lot just down the street (and near the Kendall Square Movie Cinema).
Lastly, it is worth making a reservation. You don't want to miss the cornbread.

Hungry Mother, 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge 617-499-0090


  1. I'm a huge fan of Hungry Mother. They change up their menu seasonally so you get to experience different plates in the winter versus the summer but the catfish is still my favorite no matter what!

  2. Next time, try the beef tongue canape. I'm normally not a big fan of offal, but that dish (really a few bites) is something special!