April 10, 2012

niente di speciale

niente di speciale is Italian for nothing special and for those of us in the metro area who include Hudson as a little piece of the metro area, non vale l'unità can be translated to, not Worth the drive. The Gnaw Blog paid a visit to Mama Maria's in North Hudson after several readers asked us to do so. I'm going to be perfectly honest with my readers... It's not that great!

The first thing I noticed was that the place looked identical inside to an Olive Garden, not so original if you ask me. It wasn't a complete duplicate, but too many similarities. As I started to read through the menu, it was apparent that there wasn't much thought put into the menu. There just wasn't a lot of things that popped out at me to make me think, "man do I want to try that!" I did find something that I thought may taste good called, Canneloni Classico - fresh pasta sheets rolled around seasoned pork, spinach, ham, ricotta and mozzarella cheese then baked and topped with our rich tomato meat sauce or our parmesan cream sauce (I mixed the two sauces). To my surprise, it was actually pretty good, but here comes another complaint...

For the money, the portions are far too small and I've been to plenty of Italian restaurants and have never left without leftovers, but for the first time, I did! For some people that's not a big deal, but for me it is, because leaving and feeling unsatisfied and still hungry isn't always a good thing. My wife ordered their Spaghetti Salsicci - spaghetti topped with our rich meat sauce, onions, mushrooms, mild Italian sausage, basil and garlic then baked with mozzarella cheese. I'm sorry, but I've made better sauce myself at home and I'm not even a chef at a restaurant and describing your sauce as a rich tomato meat sauce is not even close! I however would describe it as a, bland and water downed meatless flavored sauce. Thankfully, they put some seasoned pork into the dish, otherwise I would have probably told her to send it back and to please find a bottle of Classico or Trader Joe's Rustico Sauce instead!

I think I'll wait for August and September to roll around to get the all-you-can-eat special at Olive Garden or make a trip to Inonni so I can have one of the, if not the best spaghetti dishes I've had. Maybe make a trip to my Alma mater for their famous sgedd's... That's right, my old stomping grounds made some of the best spaghetti known to man kind and anyone who has had the privilege of eating this stuff knows just how good it really is.

Address not needed on this one, sorry! :)

23 comments:

LISA WILLIAMS said...

I am shocked you had such a disappointing experience! The chef there used to be the chef @ Vittorio's in Stillwater. When that closed I was so bummed because you cannot get deep fried cappaletti (spelling?) or the Canneloni Bianco ANYWHERE else and they are awesome!!!! I have never had a bad experience there. I feel bad that you did because I know their food to be excellent. Atmosphere is average, I agree. However, I rarely notice anything else when I am there because I am so excited for my food!!!! AND, I get to draw with crayons on the table cloth and I am ALL ABOUT THAT!!!! :(:(:(:(

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for a great place to go in Hudson, check out: http://www.winzerstube.net/

Fantastic, authentic German restaurant. It was voted 5th best German restaurant in America in 2011.

Also Nick said...

Wow I have a hard time believing this as well. I have been going to Mama Marias since living at UWRF in the 90's and only love it more than ever. I have never left without some extra food in a carryout container. please visit this place and make up your own mind. it is true that it is not Inoni, but a gem no doubt. this review even makes me suspicious if they even went to Mama Maria's, as there was no mention of the friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff, marvelous wine and drink lists, spectacular happy hour etc. there was no mention of the beautiful bar area or clean bathrooms, sturdy furniture, fireplace, murals or any of the other amenities that sets this place apart. these are the things that leave an inpression on me. but i guess i'd never drive across town to order spaghetti.

Nicholas said...

"To each their own" and with that said, I've had better food elsewhere! As for all the things that were listed that I apparently missed out on... They weren't worth mentioning, because it wasn't all the special. I'm a hard guy to please and when I want a good meal, I know not to stop back! Well maybe unless someone else pays my way... As for the German Restaurant, I'll have to try it out! My favorite is the Gasthaus in Stillwater...

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the winzer stube is fantastic. Hard to find if you're not looking for it though.

Brittney A said...

Mama Maria's has been my favorite Italian place for years now, and I am shocked at your review!! My boyfriend and I have been searching for another Italian restaurant to enjoy in our area and have not found one that can compare to Mama Maria's. Everywhere else is overpriced and sub par at best, where Mama's is reasonably priced for delicious food. Try the champagne chicken if you ever give it a chance again- best meal I've had in years!!

Anonymous said...

Mama Maria's is by far my favorite restaurant. I'm amazed that you were still hungry. Between the homemade rolls, salad and pasta I don't know of anyone who has ever not been full at the end. With the canneloni, good choice by the way, usually at least part of it comes home with me.

As for prices, given that almost everything is homemade the prices are amazing. I can do lunch for three people for under $25 and dinner isn't that much more. Olive Garden is much more expensive for much lower quality.

Steve Erickson said...

It's been our favorite restaurant since 2000. Your review is wrong and mean spirited

Hudson Gal said...

Pictures? I don't believe you actually ate at Mama Maria's. Are you sure?
We have never, ever had a bad meal there. Wonderful service. Great food.
Of course if you think Olive Garden is fine dinning we may have our answer to why you don't know good food when you taste it.

Nicholas said...

Please help me with where I mentioned Olive Garden as a "fine dining" establishment? Apaprently our neighbors across the Croix are sensitive...

Anonymous said...

What a terribly incorrect review of Mama Maria's! First of all, this place doesn't compare to Olive Garden in the least bit! All of the uniquely painted decor was done by one artist, and I happen to know that Mama's changes the other decor around with the seasons and holidays (can you tell I'm happily a repeat customer??).
As far as service goes, I've been serviced by several of the waitresses - some of which I recognize who have been working there for 10+ years. All of them go above and beyond in making sure you are comfortable, happy, and enjoy your experience. We had one minor food issue once, and it was addressed appropriately by management. Prices are incredibly reasonable and all the food is at a superb quality especially for being homemade. I could understand if you went on a busy weekend when, at any place you go, there could be a better chance for you to be unhappy at one thing, but I am absolutely shocked at your completely negative review of Mama Maria's.

Anonymous said...

Sory.. have to agree.. food is less then sub par there latly... mayb the mistake was hiring a chef from a restaurant that tanked...

Anonymous said...

Vittorios went downhill because thier chef left to open his own restaurant 23 years ago. This biased rogue journalism needs to end. You are hurting a business that is beloved by the community and hires lots of our kids. All because of your wife not liking her spaghetti. You actually like your food remember? Remember what it was like before you were perfect.

Anonymous said...

Olive Garden is a chain restaurant! I guess it's kind of like McDonald's - at least it's consistent. Your review however is not. Mama Maria's has great food and ambience. It's NOT a chain. Stick with what your used too! Maybe you should try Old Country Buffet. I hear it's all you can eat.

Carol said...

Your crazy! Mama Marias is awesome. Best Italian in the area - way better then the chains in the Twin Cities. I tell everyone to come over to Hudson.

Caryn said...

It saddens me greatly that you and your wife did not enjoy your visit to Mama Maria's...but it clearly tells me that your palette has depleted and your tastebuds don't work! Never before have I dined at a one-of-a-kind establishment with unique ambience and an incredibly firendly waitstaff! And the food! Delicious! The menu, both lunch and dinner alike, are full of dishes that I would consider wonderful comfort foods, such as the Champagne Chicken and Spaghetti alla Romana, to name a couple. I always go home with leftovers. The soups are excellent and seasoned to perfection. As for your absurd comparison of this delightful establishment to the mediocre chain Olive Garden--to even consider these two businesses are alike as far as decor, service, and food quality is to insult the hard-working staff of Mama Maria's to the lowest level of disrespect. The cooks place a lot of thought and creativity into their features and food and the waitstaff goes above and beyond ensuring each guest has a comfortable experience. I recommend Mama Maria's to every potential diner looking for a unique and delicious experience and have converted many into repeat customers. Your review sounds suspiciously cut and paste, almost as though you were already expecting the worst from a privately owned business, what with your ridiculous expectations of what an American Italian restaurant "should" be based on your prior visits to a sub par restaurant chain of dried-out noodles and an uninterested waitstaff.

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to say something about the Winzer Stube. Having spent some time in Germany, I know a humble little of German cuisine, that being said, when I wish to be reminded of the food I enjoyed so much on the shore of the Rhine, I head to the Stube. Food can't be beat, if theres one place you can ACTUALLY taste the love that goes into dish, hands downs this is the place.

Anonymous said...

lol...sounds like an employee...

Caryn said...

Not an employee at all, I work elsewhere. Nice try, though, you made me "lol" right back.

Nicholas said...

This is all great feedback actually! I'm not going to make everyone happy even IF I actually like a certain place. Critics wouldn't exist if ALL places being talked about were perfect and peachy! I simply didn't think it was as good of a place that it was described to me and chose to speak my mind about it. The fact that some of you actually attacked me as if I was never there or called me names, etc is a bit distasteful, but I guess is expected if you don't see eye-to-eye???? Yeah, not really! For you Hudsonites, you need to leave the city and experience some other restaurants if you think Mama Maria's is what some of you call... "THE BEST!"

Nicholas said...

Had the baked spaghetti at a place that ISN'T even an Italian restaurant and the chef should take some lessons... Stop by The Tavern Grill in Woodbury and try some real spaghetti!

Anonymous said...

You should learn to punctuate and write complete sentences before trying to be a food critic. #hack

Nicholas said...

Coming from someone who thinks this is Twitter and hash tagging hack... Nice one!