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Hungry Mother

Kendall Square, Cambridge

Dinner: Tuesday–Sunday 5–10:30 pm

Just a month before the end of the semester — and my life at MIT — I decided to go out and have a nice, stress-relieving dinner. On Tuesday we went to Hungry Mother, a tiny restaurant just in the corner of Portland and Bristol streets, in front of the Kendall Square Cinema. I discovered it by luck and since then I had always planned to visit it. What an amazing surprise!

That Tuesday, I made a reservation for two and smiled; I had a date for dinner and I was going to finally meet with the Hungry Mother. I put on my red lipstick and biked there. It was nice to discover that the restaurant is unpretentious, simple, and comfortable.

The menu had changed since I first saw it. Before, the dishes were clearly winter cuisine: duck, marrow, and pork chops. Now — even though the month of May is still surprisingly chilly — there are fishes and fruits de mer, along with pork and lamb. The chef uses regional and seasonal products to conceive interesting creations and changes the offer every month or so.

My boyfriend chose the grilled pompano. It was a whole fish with ortanique segments (the ortanique is an orange-tangerine hybrid) and a soy-lemon sauce; the flavors were a perfect balance between acidity, saltiness, and sweetness. On the side there were tempura fiddleheads: It was the first time we saw one of those curly veggies, but we loved their flavor with little reminders of asparagus and baby spinach.

I had a slow-roasted curried leg of lamb with small red beans, mint leaves, and little pieces of peanut. On the top were cucumber strips with crème fraiche that brought a little freshness to the richer, yet very tender, lamb. It was comfort food at its best.

Our table neighbor could not stop talking about the high quality of his entire dinner; for his third course he had ordered catfish fillet with pecan meuniere sauce served with rice, sea island red peas, and lemon brown butter.

Choosing a dessert proved to be difficult even though the menu only gave us three choices. We debated between a bacon upside-down cake and butterscotch pot de crème. But when and where we would we ever have the chance to eat a bacon cake again? Our choice did not disappoint. The simple, fluffy cake, topped with chunks of delicious caramelized bacon and served with mandarin segments and vanilla whipped cream, was pure heaven.

Our whole experience at Hungry Mother was outstanding. Even though it is pricey, it is completely worth it. I cannot wait to bring my family there and enjoy a new menu.