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Mamie's, Roxbury

sundeck sue | Aug 4, 2014 04:57 PM

Stopped in for lunch today @ Mamie's in Roxbury. I love the location and building and decor. The place is so New England. The menu always sounds wonderful. I even love the name. I so want to love it.

But as has been the case in the past, it wasn't all I hoped for.

Service was fine.

Lobster roll special and gazpacho soup of the day were tempting.

But I was more intrigued by the Bacon, Lettuce, and Fried Green Tomato sandwich on whole-grain toast. I ordered it with salad, not fries (a modicum of restraint + fried veg in the sandwich, though it did occur to me I was maybe doing salad two ways as opposed to two things fried).

I am a BLT fan; and the concept of using fried green as opposed to fresh red tomatoes caught my fancy. The sandwich was clearly freshly made--the fried green tomatoes, hot off the grill--too hot to eat at first. And the sandwich was a tower, beautiful to behold, with stacks upon stacks of the tomatoes, some lettuce, and shards of bacon. And the individual parts were great--amazing bacon, perfectly fried (from a local farm?), perfectly fried tomatoes that were a beautiful shade of pale green,wonderfully fresh leaves of lettuce, good mayo, great bread (I didn't ask its provenance--I know they bake delicious old-fashioned sweets--don't know if they bake their own bread).

But my tower fell.

It was too tall to bite into--and the layers weren't melded, so they started to fall out, before I tried to bite it, when I tried to pick it up. It was also too tall to cut easily (and large pieces of crisp bacon don't cut).

And in terms of taste--compared to ripe, raw tomatoes, the sweetness of the green tomatoes were not strong enough, fried green tomatoes not juicy enough--and the fried coating of the tomatoes felt like gilding the lily of the fried bacon (by the end, I felt just a touch of the queasiness you can get when you eat a lot of fried stuff). And it was a little bland and dry. I added salt, which didn't do much. It didn't come together.

A serviceable diner-type BLT can definitely be improved upon. It becomes positively brilliant when you go out of your way to include terrific ingredients: heirloom tomatoes, just-picked lettuce, bacon from happy pigs, bread from a great bakery, home-made mayo.

But in terms of the concept, maybe the message is: don't mess with perfection--a classic is a classic for a reason.

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