Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just got back home from a trip north of the river... maybe that will teach me! I went to Mulberry, a bar/restaurant in the new 360 condo building downtown at 3rd & Nueces. And after looking it up online, and finding rave reviews for it on, I felt compelled to join yelp and write a review as I wasn't in love. So what's written below is straight from my review on yelp. In brief, stay south! :)

I normally don't do online reviews of places, but I feel compelled to write since I am not completely in love with Mulberry as most other reviewers on here are. I have only been once (a Thursday in December), and while I will say the service was good, the portions are not worth the price they are asking.

My companion and I started with the coppa, gorgonzola, and crostini appetizer w/ honey. The presentation was lovely, but it it was thin pieces of bread, with a melba toast consistency. The coppa was tasty, but hard to bite into more than one piece with your teeth. So 4 small crostini for $10. I had the Cuban pork sandwich, which came with a mixed baby green salad with a really lovely vinaigrette. The sandwich itself though, was a large amount of bread, but not a lot of pork on the inside. It was good, but not great; cost was $11. My friend had the salmon filet entree, which was grilled (I think) with a citrus pesto on top, and the whole thing sitting on a bed of unexciting boxed couscous. Neither of us really tasted citrus in the pesto, it seemed like a pretty straightforward basil pesto. The salmon was cooked fine. When we were ordering, I asked the waiter what kind of salmon it was, and he said he didn't know. When he returned with the drinks, he did report that it was Atlantic salmon. (Not my personal first choice in salmon, but my companion was fine with it, and she had also already ordered.) The dish was $22. Would have been great at $12, but for the small portion that was offered, not worth it at $22.

I had a glass of Four Sisters Shiraz from Australia, at $9/glass. She had a sparking wine from Schramsberg, at $11/glass, I believe; they do have a nice wine list, though again, prices seem on the high side.

Service was quite good; three different people attended to us thoughout our hour there. And while the food was good, it wasn't great, especially for the prices they're asking. The place is also really really small. Only 2 tables, and then counters around the perimeter, and the bar in the middle. There's a large wooden pillar in one corner of the bar, and maybe because I was opposite it along the counter, it seems imposing and somewhat unnecessary. I fully admit to not being a downtown barfly to begin with, but I really can't see going back.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Madam Mam's

Okay, back in the saddle! While there may be another Moroccan post to come (when I have the time!), it is time to get back to some delicious south Austin food!

This past Saturday night, I ate at Madam Mam's (the south location, duh!). We were starving when we arrived, and completely stuffed when we left! As we began looking over the menu, I saw on their specials list an appetizer I have only been able to find at a Thai place in Las Cruces, NM (yes, odd location, but Lemongrass is as good of a Thai restaurant that I've had in any big city). There they call it "Leaf-wrapped Savories." I call it delicious! Anyway, I've NEVER seen it at any other place before, and there it was! Mam's calls it "Mieng Kum" (or #A9 on the specials menu), and it's romaine lettuce ribs with a fabulous mixture of little chopped things (dried baby shrimp, toasted coconut, kafir lime, peanut, ginger, chile,& shallot on top of it) and a sweet & sour tamarind sauce to drizzle over. For those of us who love the sweet & savory combination of foods, this rocked! They're messy to eat, because you're holding a piece of lettuce, trying not to let all the goodies fall out, and also trying not to let the sticky sauce drip down your hand. Messy but totally gratifying!

Next up was #P11, their incredible Tom Kha soup,which is about the best Tom Kha I've ever had. Their coconut milk broth is so flavorful... it's got a ton of stuff in it too. We chose chicken (over tofu or shrimp), and pieces of lemongrass, galangal, chiles, mushrooms, cilantro...which can all be spooned over some jasmine rice. Mmmm. It clears any stuffed sinus passages, and really just leaves you warm all over! (Great for the colder weather that may be coming into town!) Our last dish was #F11 "Guay Teaw Kua Gai" or flat rice noodles with sauteed pork, bean sprouts, and another lovely sweet and tangy sauce. This was definitely the best noodle dish I've had at Mam's. Maybe it was the wider rice noodles or just the melding of the pork with the sauce, but I'd certainly get it again.

It's been a long time since I've had it, but I have found their Pad Thai to be a disappointment, and I often use that dish as a standard to judge the restaurant when trying a new Thai place. Mam's tends to be hit (green papaya salad, amazing green beans, everything we had above) or miss (all the other noodle dishes, satay) so it's just a matter of being able to get the good stuff. We practically licked our plates till we were completely saturated, and I still wanted more!