I know coming in this is going to offend some long time fans of the place, but on my first (and probably only) visit to the place for lunch a couple of years ago, I was MIGHTLY disappointed and underwhelemed. I had heard such a lot of good buzz on the place on all the food boards and NOLA tour sites I went to, and pretty much all the other places I was recommended turned out great. Except for Mother's.
Got there late for lunch, I am sure my first mistake, long line to get in, but hey, this was the New Orleans Original Po' Boy experience everyone had raved about, a little patience was surely called for.
Once we got in the door and through the line, the place was just packed with people. After you finally got up to the counter, the counter person goes into a rant about something, not a clue why I was being yelled at, but I order po boys, and then they yell at me to go stand somewhere else so they can get the next order. Problem is it is elbow to elbow in the place, where else am I supposed to stand? Now don't get me wrong, I have been to plenty of down and dirty type joints where servers yell at you and such. I have enjoyed biker joints and hole in the wall bars and BBQ joints where all they served was ribs and white bread and laughed if you asked for a menu. I'm not a wallflower, but this was just way above and beyond what I expected at this "great" place. Was I suposed to yell back? Maybe throw in a few f-bombs? I don't get it.
After waiting, we get our sandwiches, and find a table without people that only has 4 or 5 layers of dirty leavings on it, they aren't cleared at any point, and no place to put them if we wanted to do it ourselves. Very quaint, the bugs flies crawling on the garbage. We start to eat our sandwich and the meat is just RANCID.. gross. I forget about trying to complain, I'm not gonna go stand in line to get yelled at again. Out the door we went.
Sadly got a better (and cheaper) lunch at the casino down the way, I munched a lot of the all you can eat crawfish.. not exactly fine dining or authentic New Orleans, but it wasn't spoiled, and no one yelled at me.
If Mother's had been the only "authentic" NOLA place I had ever been to, I certainly would never have gone back to New Orleans. Luckily, I had many days of eating to restore my faith, a good thing too, my wife almost wouldn't trust me to ever pick a place to eat again after the fiasco we had at Mother's.
Except for one misguided and unfortunate foray into the House of Blues (sort of like going to Olive Garden while in Italy, my mistake), everywhere we went was just top notch, and easily would have been one of the tastiest restaurants in any given average mid-sized US city...
So then, what is it with Mother's?