Mama’s Kitchen: Simple is Good, Korean Comfort Food
Words and Photos by Amanda Campbell
Near the corner of Grace and Harrison Streets is a mom and pop run restaurant that blends in with its surroundings. With a plain white brick exterior and a bright red door, Mama’s Kitchen looks like just another mediocre Asian eatery. It is the food though that sets it apart and raises the bar in terms of flavor and quality.
The restaurant is not pretentious, it doesn’t pretend to be any more than it is, and the menu doesn’t claim to serve anything super fancy either. The selection is simple, moderately priced Korean comfort food.
Staring up at the menu board, I decide to get the sweet and spicy shrimp combo that comes with mandoo (dumplings), kimbap (kind of like a vegetable sushi roll), miso soup, rice, and kimchi.
The shrimp are breaded, fried, then tossed in a thick sauce that has a sweet honey taste with a slight peppery kick to it. The shrimp are cooked well and the natural shrimp flavor is not lost in the sauce and breading – they complement each other well.
The mandoo are softly steamed dumplings filled with vegetables and shredded chicken. Though they tasted fine, the mandoo are lacking some flavor, as it all seems very one note and bland.
Filled with pickled and fresh thinly sliced vegetables, the kimbap has a nice balance of acidity and crunch with the rest of the meal. The miso is also pretty good, with a salty, well-seasoned broth and bits of carrots and cabbage in it.
The kimchi is a nice end to the meal. Though it lacks the heat that traditional kimchi has, the marinated cabbage has a good but strong vinegar flavor and a spicy kick from the red pepper flakes that give the dish it’s signature red coloring.
Final Vedict: Though it may not be “traditional” Koran flavors, the food is pretty good and very filling for a great price.