Dining Out

Review: Mother’s Restaurant in New Hope

New Hope Free Press Mothers wingsI drove down North Main Street recently and saw what appeared to be a renovated Mother’s Restaurant. I hadn’t been to Mother’s in five or six years and probably a couple of owners ago, and the experience back then was just not all that great.

I looked up Mother’s online to see what might have changed, and was pleasantly surprised to see pictures of a renovated restaurant and, more important to me, a good-looking menu full of healthy choices and traditional fare.

My partner and I perused the offerings online and began the horse trading exercise that precedes our dining out experiences. We agreed she would try the Black Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad and the Miso Cod over Black Chinese Rice, and I the Roasted Beet Salad with Chicken Marsala, with the shared appetizer of Scallops Casino (seared sea scallops over arugula with a light lemon dressing, topped with sweet bell peppers and bacon relish).

We walked into what was a freshly renovated bar with a smart appearance. Two large flat panel TVs bracketed the modern bar, shaped like a horseshoe and furnished with metal bar stools. I immediately thought, “I’d come here for a game.”

We were greeted by a friendly bartender who seated us, as the hostess was busy on her smartphone. We didn’t wait very long for our server to introduce himself and let us know the soup du jour was pumpkin bisque, while handing us our menus. The menu itself consisted of six printed pages stapled together and bearing food stains. And the Kale Caesar, the Miso Cod and the Scallops Casino did not appear among its pages — in fact, this menu appeared but a shadow of the online version.

We stopped and took a good look around us, and came to the conclusion that this wasn’t the place to be selecting entrees priced $20 and up. The floor was not vacuumed, the windows were dirty, and the dining room lighting was flickering and too bright.

new hope free press mothers exteriorWe looked over the menu again, decided the place was more of a bar or pub than a fine restaurant, and ordered Buffalo Wings hot ($10), a Surf-and-Turf Burger ($14) and a Southwest Burger ($11).

The wings at best were average. The sauce was just okay and lacking in heat. And while the wings themselves were large and meaty, they were also dry.

The surf-and-turf burger, which featured a half-pound burger topped with an “all crab–no filler” crab cake, was just as advertised, although the crab cake itself was bland.

The Southwest Burger was a delicious half-pounder topped with large chunks of avocado, and green chiles on a tasty brioche bun with Southwestern ranch sauce and two onion rings. Both burgers came with home-cooked potato chips — typically cooked to order with one’s entree — but unfortunately not the case here, and we were presented with room temperature chips that were cut too thick and too lightly seasoned. As we were paying our bill, the couple next to us attempted to order the Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese with Panko bread crumbs, and was told that the kitchen had run out.

All in all, our server was attentive and pleasant, and one of the two burgers we ordered was well above average. The rest of the experience was unsatisfactory. Cleanliness at Mother’s needs to be tightened up, a real menu should be printed, and the disconnect from how Mother’s is branding itself online and the reality on the ground needs to be addressed. Mother’s could be a great spot to get a burger and see the game, or it could be a dining spot with eclectic menu items. Trying to do both isn’t working.

Our meal, including two non-alcoholic beverages, was $52 with tip.

Mother’s Restaurant is located at 34 N. Main St.

(The reviewer is unaffiliated with and receives no compensation from any restaurant reviewed. His views are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Free Press.)

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