There is a new restaurant in Aberdeen causing a stir (no, not that one, this one is actually open) , although at first glance, you may have been a bit confused by it’s name. At least, that’s how I felt after seeing the sign for “Mamie’s Cafe – With Love” in the Beards Hill Plaza a few months ago. I stopped by one day while grocery shopping at Klein’s to peek in the windows, and after seeing it’s antiqued, shabby chic decor, decided it was a place I would never step foot in.
At least, until I started hearing more about it. First, there was the post on the Dining@Large blog on the Baltimore Sun’s website that listed Mamie’s as having one of the top ten burgers in the Baltimore area. Next, after posting the burger news on The Dagger’s forum, great reviews started pouring in from stacey, Dave, and The Dagger’s own Matt about how good the food was. Finally, a quick google search revealed that Mamie’s used to be in Hampden, and won the praise from many critics, including the City Paper. That was enough for me, and it was time to drop the kids off at the in-laws and check this place out.
Note: Be sure to check out this City Paper article detailing why Mamie’s closed in Hampden.
Mamie’s is located right next to the Radio Shack in the space formerly occupied by Mamma Lucia’s. If you ever dined at the old italian joint, you may feel like you are stepping into the twilight zone, as much of the old restaurant’s design is still in place, from the faux-painted columns to the pizza boxes stacked in the back. The rest of the decor is made up antiques, pictures, and other nicknaks.
The place was a little busier than I expected for 5:30 on a Friday night. Luckily for us, being a twosome, we were able to sit at one of the open smaller tables. The menu was printed on plain white paper, stapled in the upper corner. Not exactly what we were expecting, but not a big deal. What was a big deal were the menu choices. We were not prepared to see so many seafood, meat, and pasta choices. All I knew about the place was that they had good burgers.
It took my wife and I about 10 minutes just to decide what were going to order. I passed on the burger, as I had one for lunch, and decided to start with a cup of the Maryland Crab Soup, followed by one of their specials, Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo, or as I call it, “heart attack on a plate”. My wife chose the Pasta a la Mamie, which is a spaghetti, vegetable and olive oil concoction.
We were giving a loaf of fresh-baked bread, which was very good. Before we were even through with our first helping, a second was brought to the table. This type of service was reflective of what we would be treated to for our entire dinner. The Maryland Crab Soup was… pedestrian. Now, I know that may sound a little harsh. I was hoping for a little more spice (I LOVE OLD BAY!), but the flavor was a little lacking. I also understand why this is probably a good thing, since it is easier to err on the side of caution. The soup did have a good amount of crab and vegetables though. Both entrees we selected were also served with small garden salad.
A few minutes after finishing off the salads, our main entrees came out, and the portions were generous. One of the reasons I select the seafood alfredo was because I had some experience with the dish at The Olive Tree, and wanted something to compare Mamie’s to another popular, local establishment. The portion was about the same size as The Olive Tree’s version, however it is important to note that Mamie’s was a few bucks cheaper. The shrimp, scallops and crabmeat were plentiful and tasty, and the alfredo sauce’s consistently was perfect and not too thick. My wife’s pasta looked good, but again, could have used more spices and flavor. We were sure to check out what other’s around us were ordering, and the open-face sandwiches looked amazing! We quickly decided what we would be getting the next time.
After finishing what we could of our meals (the leftovers didn’t last long at home), we were unexpectedly treated to dessert. Were were given a slice of Mamie’s Orange Creamsicle cake. My wife quickly proclaimed it to be the best thing about the dining experience, and even I, as someone who generally doesn’t eat cake, enjoyed it.
The service was very good, and other’s seemed to be enjoying themselves and their food. Prices were a little higher than we expected before walking in, but after touring the menu and seeing the portions, we felt that Mamie’s provided a decent value. Without many quality dining choices in Aberdeen, Mamie’s is sure to stand out.
[image courtesy of Baltimore Stories]
This review was originally published on HarfordNow.com, and is being incorporated in The Chew here on daggerpress.com