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Mama Mia's Trattoria (PDX) (longish)

yummygirl | May 16, 200504:52 PM

What a let down. My BF and I, in Portland for the weekend from Tacoma, had a most disappointing dinner at Mama Mia's Trattoria this past Saturday evening. We are both huge fan's of Mothers, and while we did have high expectations based on wonderful meals at Lisa's other store, we both left our dinner feeling rather "ripped off", having settled for a less than satisfying experience. Arriving at the restaurant Saturday at 5:00pm, we were greeted rather coursely by a member of the waitstaff. The entire place was empty (having just opened). No "Welcome to Mama's" or any such salutation. He asked us roughly "Do you folks have a reservation this evening?". When we answered in the negative, he promptly and without warmth, said he "had nothing available, but we could eat in the bar". While I'm certain they did have a busy Saturday evening planned, it was a bit incongruous to be told we had no chance of eating there, while gazing out at a (huge) empty dining room. We declined his offer(?) and turned to leave. Before hitting the door, the hostess appeared and said we were welcome to stay, but they would need our table at 6:15pm for guests with a reservation. Fair enough. We accepted, and were seated. The bread basket with the teaser portion of the magic garlic bread appeared, and we nestled in for what we thought would be another amazing Lisa Schroeder food experience. Alas, it was downhill from there. My partner and I each order Caeser Salad to start. The wonderfully crunchy, fresh, flavorful croutons were the star of the salad. The dressing was bland(!) and poured with much to heavy a hand. Our entrees arrived soon after, my BF had ordered Pasta Carbonara and I the Pizza di Gorno. The pasta arrived a sea of white in a white pasta bowl. No fresh parsley or color to speak of. Worse yet, he had to dig around his pasta to find the smallest, and I mean 2mm x 2mm, pieces of the promised pancetta. Everytime he thought he found a piece of the salty bacon, it turned out to be carmelized onion. The sauce itself, usually a somewhat thick, rich, creamy sauce traditionally, seemed to be lacking any of the egg "curd" taste or texture that one expects from Carbonara. My BF deemed it a failure, and when our server came around, asked her to remove the offending dish. In five years of dining with him, I've never seen him send something back, so I knew he was quite serious about his disappointment. Without too much else to say, the waitress picked up his plate and returned it to the kitchen. Later, when we got the bill, there was a minus sign in front of the entry for the Carbonara, with the entry "Didn't Like". BF and I joked they must not have an entry for "False Hope". Enough ranting about the pasta. My pizza di Gorno was to feature carmelized onion, garlic and (the aforementioned microscopic pieces of) pancetta. The crust was wonderful, thin and sort of bubbly, with a little dark on the edges, but there must be a pig shortage, because I never did find the pancetta. It will be a long time before we even considering dining at Mama Mia's again, and frankly, we may think twice about Mother's again, based on the seeming indifference by the staff (waitstaff and kitchen staff especially) employed by Lisa.

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