Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mama Maria's

If you are willing to drive distances to try out a great hole in the wall, then put Mama Maria's on your list of places to try. A guy making funnel cakes at the Silver State Kennel Club dog show told me about this place a few weeks ago and I'd been wanting to go since. We finally made the trip way out to the Northeast and were rewarded with fantastic food, reasonable prices, and friendly service.

After debating between several items, we decided to order the chile verde, enchiladas verdes, and a chile relleno a la carte. The chile verde ($8.50) consisted of tender pieces of slow cooked pork bathed in a tangy tomatillo sauce, and was served with a side of fluffy rice and refried beans that tasted identical to those we had at a little lobster village in Mexico. The pork (pictured above) was fork tender and I loved the large meaty chunks, but I would have preferred it to have a few more hot chiles. The chile relleno ($5.50 a la carte) was also worth the trip and we even thought it was better than that of Vega's Cafe, which previously held our number one spot for this dish. Rather than a white sauce, this was served with a perfectly executed red tomato-based sauce. The batter was thicker and had a good amount of egg, and there wasn't a superfluous amount of cheese in the center. The combination of these two factors pleased me because it resulted in more protein, less fat, and a more interesting flavor combination. It just felt like a more balanced dish than the other chile rellenos I've had. The enchiladas verdes ($8.99) were the least impressive dish, but still better than enchiladas at most other restaurants. I appreciated how the green sauce for these was different than the chile verde sauce used for the pork, because it showed me that each dish is thought of independently. Ian commented on the skill used to prepare the sauces here as they weren't broken (culinary term meaning the fat and acids haven't separated from one another), and I agreed. Even though the food here could be equated with awesome home cooking, the skill level necessary to prepare each of these is probably underrated in the eyes of the consumer. I really wanted the tres leches cake since that is on my top five list of favorite desserts (the best I've had is at Cuba Cuba in Richmond, VA), but sadly they were out so we settled for the flan ($2.50). This turned out not to be sad at all, because despite the weird presentation (see below, and yes, those are plastic covered toothpicks in the cherries), the flan itself was creamy and the caramelized sugar syrup was toasty and rich. Plus, it was the perfect size. If you don't want to try the desserts here, however, you can go to the shop next door to get homemade ice creams and popsicles, which are also inexpensive.

Though I've only been once, it seems like the food here would be fairly consistent since it's run by a couple from Guadalajara who manage the restaurant and do all the cooking, just like at Vega's cafe. Adding to the charm is the old fashioned diner wheel system for reading restaurant tickets, a refreshing sight in a country whose restaurants are filled with P.O.S (point of sale) systems. Plus, it's always great to support a Mom and Pop kind of place!

Tip: They have a happy hour from 2PM to 5PM with two for one drinks and half price select appetizers and entrees.

Today's Food Ratings:
Chile verde: 8.75
Chille relleno: 9
Enchiladas verdes: 8

Restaurant Rating: 6


Chille Relleno

Enchiladas Verdes


Tiny Food Window

No comments:

Post a Comment