I really love when a restaurant inspires huge reactions from my friends, especially when they rely on me to choose the restaurant for us. To my delight, they kept talking about our Friday night trip to Mama’s Food Shop in the East Village for days. Unfortunately, no one was saying anything good.
Eating at one of Mama’s tables feels like eating at the apartment of one of your most eclectic hipster friends if you have the sort of friends who keep nude pictures of their mothers on bookshelves at the heads of their tables. And if your friend serves you lukewarm comfort food cafeteria-style from metal pans.
I was there for the bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and it didn’t disappoint. It had a homey, small-batch taste and pulled apart easily with my fork. The macaroni was plenty cheesy but underseasoned, and I probably would’ve rather had a box of Kraft at home. The kind with the orange cheesefood that squeezes out of the pouch.
My friends had the fried chicken and thought it was bland, but that didn’t stop Chantee from making this face when I asked her to pose:
As a lover of big, soft French fries, I thought my friends’ sweet potato fries were delicious, but most of the plate sat uneaten by everyone else:
However, my pile of banana cream pie (sans crust) was so attractive to everyone
that when I turned to get a photo of something else, two friends dove for a bite at the same time and ended up losing it on the table
so it spent the remainder of the meal beside me on the bookshelf, next to one of the naked ladies.
I didn’t think anyone was horrified by it at the time, but when I asked my friends individually later if they’d return, every one of them said no due to the temperature of the food. I, ever the optimist, chalk that up to our arriving mere minutes before they were closing (although when you’re dishing up pre-cooked food on a serving line, probably the least you can do is serve it hot).
Aside from that, I thought everything tasted just like someone’s mama would make it, and I definitely loved the idea of it:
• You get to see exactly what the food looks like before you order it (great for your picky friends)
Mama’s Food Shop
• No tipping a waiter (great for your cheap friends)
• A whole lot of food (great for your gluttonous friends)
200 East 3rd Street
New York, NY 10009