Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mother Maybel's Martinis - CLOSED (Now Clementine Bistro and Bar)

510 NE 28th Ave
Happy Hour: Monday - Thursday: 4 - 6PM, Friday: 2 - 6 PM, Tuesday - Saturday: 11PM - Midnight

Vegetarian sliders!?! I love this place already. The price is a bit steep in the end...but, if I go in next time with the right strategy I'll come out well-fed, slightly inebriated and with enough cash to continue on my way.

With plans to attend an art opening later that evening, our happy hour selection was all about location. And this place (which is somewhat new) was definitely in the right neighborhood. It's around the corner from Pambiche (a long-time favorite) and down the street from Tapalaya (which currently tops my list for food, drinks and value). The Kerns neighborhood could easily be the best happy hour neighborhood in all of Portland if these restaurants continue to exceed my expectations. (There's a new place opening soon...the paper was still on the windows last time I walked by...and I can't wait to see how it compares.)

There were four of us this time. We claimed the couch and chairs in the front part of the restaurant. (There are at least three different areas throughout the place. The view from the window made it seem quite small...but the place stretches through multiple rooms allowing for quite the crowd without all the noise.) The seating was ultra comfy and allowed for a very relaxing happy hour but the "coffee table" was barely big enough to hold all of our beverages, let alone the food items that followed. We were lucky to get out of there without any spills.

I ordered a cosmopolitan--which was listed on the chalkboard as one of the drink specials--for $5. The specialty cocktails are discounted during happy hour as well...but most of them were not as sweet as I like my drinks to be. I did take a sip of the Moscow Mule which might just take a place on my list of summer drink standbys. (All of my summer standbys seem to contain some sort of this makes complete sense. They are all perfect for hot summer days...and nights.)

We each ordered two items off of the five dollar food menu. I was disappointed to learn that the grilled cheese and soup wasn't always grilled cheese and TOMATO soup. As it was a Friday, they were--of course--serving clam chowder. Clam Chowder is never an option for me (something about those clams...and, me being a vegetarian) but I don't really see the two going well together. Perhaps I'm wrong. I can't even remember the last time I had clam chowder. I'm guessing it's been over 18 years. Maybe clam chowder and grilled cheese DO make for good companions.

My second choice that night will now be my first choice EVERY time I return to Mother Maybel's. And, they are on both the happy hour menu (listed at 3 for $5) and the regular dinner menu (at $2 each). Mother Maybel's has the BEST vegetarian sliders ever. (Okay, I've only had vegetarian sliders once before--and they were just baby garden burgers--but these really are good enough to win the title.) They were tiny and cute (like all sliders are...that's the main appeal, right?) and covered with slices of marinated and grilled portobella mushrooms. So yummy. I want more just thinking about them. I did miss out on taking a picture of them, though. After that first bite I was too distracted to remember anything but my new found love of portobella sliders.

To accompany my sliders (and really, just because I wanted to try more from the menu) I ordered a plate of hushpuppies. They took a little longer to make--which turned out just fine as we were having a hard time making room on the table for all that we ordered. They were golden brown (not black and crispy like the hushpuppies I last tried at the Victory Bar) and served with a sweet jalapeno dip. I broke them apart in my hands to avoid biting into the whole thing at once and am SO glad that I did. On the last bite, I discovered that these hushpuppies were NOT vegetarian but contained bits of bacon. Thankfully those bits were large enough to be spotted and I avoided making a big mistake. The waiter was great about this and brought us a second plate (which ended up going home in a "to go" box) at no charge.

The service was a little less than consistent but easily explained when we learned that it was our server's first night. Knowing this, I can't complain that he took an extra minute or two to let us settle in. Plus, he was quick to return for drink orders when we all discovered that the discounted price was going to discontinue in minutes. He definitely gets points for helping us save a few bucks.

Food: Exceeds
Drinks: Meets
Value: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Service: Meets


Mother Maybel's Martinis

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