Friday, June 25, 2010

Mother's Bistro and Bar (Mother's Velvet Lounge)

212 SW Stark
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM, Tuesday through Friday



Mother's is most definitely a place to go with family. It's in the name, right? The first time I made it in for dinner we were celebrating my sister's birthday. It wasn't the largest table in the place, but everyone in our party (including my very young nephew) was pleased with the food and the service. For happy hour in the Velvet Room (attached to Mother's but with a second, separate entrance around the corner), it was equally as pleasing.

I entered earlier than the rest of the party and was greeted by multiple servers. I'm not sure if this would be considered a slow night for them...or, if they are always that quick to respond to their customers' needs. I appreciate efficient servers but even more so enjoy when servers make known that they are people and friendly people at that. It was obvious that many of the employees had certain tasks that needed to be completed before the dinner hour began in the adjoining dining room, but all of the servers were attentive to those of us joining them for the cheap eats and tasty drinks available during happy hour.


I started my evening with a Mama's Madras. Made with a mix of house-infused vodkas (both orange and lemon) as well as orange juice, cranberry juice and a touch of soda, the Madras is one of those drinks that can potentially do some serious damage. It had great citrus flavor and almost no hint of the alcohol contained within. Dangerous, I say...if you aren't opposed to paying seven dollars per cocktail.

The specialty cocktails were a bit spendy but definitely compensated for by the cheap eats available on the happy hour menu. The menu lists a variety of options--all reminiscent of things your own momma might make, but with a little more class and a higher level of presentation--all for just three dollars each. We decided on four items to share...but, as the resident vegetarian, I can only comment on the two that I tasted.


For only twelve dollars, we were able to cover the entire table with food options. We had the chicken quesadilla, the deviled eggs, the teenie-weenies, and an order of the fried ravioli. (I'm sure you can guess already which two I sampled.) All plates were cleared by the end of the meal and no complaints were made.


I was most impressed with the fried ravioli. I'm convinced that there are two main types of fried ravioli. First, there's the type that comes straight from the freezer bag (and what I first tried while living on campus during my first years of college) and then there's the kind that are made from real ravioli. This was definitely a fit in the latter category. They were served with a marinara sauce and sprinkled in parmesean cheese. Those flavors, in combination with the cheeses inside each little pasta pocket, were a great mix and made for a satisfying snack in the late afternoon. It would never be enough for a meal...but that's only based on the amount of food that I consume on any given day. With a salad and a glass of wine, this could be the ultimate Italian meal for someone with less of an appetite.

The deviled eggs were more about texture than flavor. I prefer the sweet relish version of deviled eggs (and I'm convinced I'm the minority) and was not as happy with this selection. I recognize that this is simply my own preference and will say nothing more about the eggs but that they had a smooth texture and were well-presented with a powdering of paprika.


We stayed long enough (after clearing the plates) for a second drink. I decided to go with Mom's cosmo. This cosmopolitan is much like every cosmopolitan but made with the house-infused vodka of the day. Like most cosmos, it was a SWEET drink. I'm all for sweet drinks, but this one was especially sweet near the end and started reminding me of sugary candies more than any cocktail.

Having been to Mother's in the past, and having enjoyed happy hour today, means that there is a strong guarantee that I'll be back here in the future. I think next time I'll have to stop in for some late-night dining. I am most intrigued by the tv dinners. I loved them as a kid...and, can only assume that--since the packaged varieties don't meet my vegetarian needs anymore--they will be more than pleasing. But, are they really wrapped in foil? And, will they come with the fruit compote that I remember so well?

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Exceeds
Value: Meets (food exceeds...but with the price of the cocktails included, it's meets for sure.

- b


Mother's Velvet Lounge & Cafe

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