In the Frig – Mama’s House
Korean Dishes from Mama’s House
8867 Pendleton Pike
Indianapolis, IN 46226
(Sorry, the website commonly listed for this restaurant doesn’t link you to their website. Not sure they have a website)
The other day I was chatting with some friends about dining. Generally speaking, we were all in agreement that if you want to find interesting tasty food, you have to venture out of northside suburbia. That’s what we did Saturday night at Mama’s House!
Mama’s House is located in a strip mall on the far east side of Indy off of Pendleton Pike. It keeps company with a neighborhood bar (Chip’s Lounge), a laundrymat, hobby store and liquor store. When you are greeted at the door, you will be asked whether you want the barbecue table or dining. What’s the difference? If you sit at the barbecue table, your dining experience will be more interactive as you will be grilling your meats on a small grill in the middle of the table. If you choose dining, you will be seated at a regular table.
Feeling particularly lazy, my husband and I opted for the regular dining table. We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who took time to explain the very large menu after we shared that we were virgins to the Korean food experience. She explained the more popular items for first-timers but shared that no matter what we ordered, we would be eating traditional korean cuisine.
The appetizer list was extensive and offered mixes of seafood (the scallion pancake featured a mix of various seafoods, but was rather pricey), meat and oddly, miso soup (I ordered it, but skip it! Save your room for savoring other items). We ordered the Yook Whe for $14.99. (Many of the appetizers were a little pricey). When we ordered, our waitress warned us that we were ordering something more rare – not cooked – was that okay? We enthusiastically shared that yes, we were more adventurous eaters!
And were we rewarded! The Yook Whe was awesome (above)! It’s basically a Korean steak tartar; shredded raw beef, pine nuts and special sauce topped with a raw egg yolk. It’s served with crunchy pear. It was delicious. The waitress mixed it up for us and demonstrated how to eat it – a bite of beef with the crunchiness of the pear! We gobbled the gooey, beefy goodness down within minutes…and wished for more! If you are not squeemish about raw meat, it’s a definite must! And even if you are, take a chance – you might be pleasantly surprised.
After that tasty appetizer, we became even more stoked for our dinners. My husband ordered goat meat saute, something not on the menu, but posted on green poster board hanging on the wall. I ordered the Dolsoet Bebeem Bop. Ok, if you cannot pronounce the name (like me), then no sweat. Just ask for #39.
I had no idea when I ordered my dinner (#39) what a feast I would be getting. The waitress brought out a buffet of small bowls filled with interesting and familiar items – bean sprouts, spinach, fish cake, dried fish, spicy cucumber, regular cucumber, potatoes with jalapeno, mushrooms, shredded turnip, zuchini, spicy turnips and kimchee! A parade for the eyes! Dolsocet Bebeem Bop (dish on left, above) is a traditional dish with the rice, vegetables and meat served in a sizzling hot pot. It’s topped with a lovely fried egg and a bowl of beef broth (to refresh the palate after several bites). It was spectacular! I had it cooked spicy, but the spice is very different – it’s less about the actual burn than it is about the intensity of spice! As the dish sits in the sizzling pot, the rice on the bottom gets crispy and carmelized! Wow – what a treat. It’s fun to take your chopstix and pry up the crispy rice at the bottom of the bowl. YES!
The goat meat saute was really delicious! It was the first time my husband had ever tried goat and he liked it. It’s hard to compare it to something (like it tasted like chicken) because the meat really picked up the taste of the spices. It had a “beefy” texture – not exactly like beef. And to be honest, if someone hadn’t told you it was goat, you likely wouldn’t know. It served with rice and vegetables! (right above). It was tender, savory and spicy (not hot spicy though). I don’t think it was as interesting as my dish, but it was still good – my husband managed to pick out every little piece of goat from the melange of vegetables.
Now, what about the bowls of goodies? Ok, the fish cake, not a bad flavor, but a strange wobbly texture. I think this is an acquired taste. But the dried fish was awesome! Little strips of dried fish, both sweet and spicy with a strong hint of sesame! Whatever your aversion to idea of “dried fish,” cast it aside and try the dried fish. It was like chewy candy! Now, to me the kimchee was interesting. I had never tried kimchee before and I was looking forward to trying it. It was okay. Crunchy and spicy, but I think the pickling flavor of the dish was a little overwhelming to me. It may be that it was a traditional flavor but it was just a little much for me. Texturally the spicy turnip and the fish cake were the least favorite items to me, but overall, I really enjoyed all the taste treats!
The damage? Our tab came to around $57. That was without any alcohol, so not cheap! But it was worth it! The waitress was so friendly and very helpful! And the service was excellent – I was truly impressed. What would I do differently? I would skip the miso for sure (I thought it tasted funny) and try the barbecue table! And whatever you do (we didn’t), don’t order teriyaki chicken or anything you can get at Golden Corral or PF Chang’s. Be adventurous!
And if you are really looking to have interesting food experiences, be willing to leave the comfort zone of your neighborhood and try something different!
Did you read my last review and still are too lazy to Google map it?
From the northside: Take 465 south to Pendleton Pike. Turn left on Pendleton Pike – turn into the strip mall RIGHT BEFORE Post Road. It’s on your right.
Southside? Come on – reverse it.
Westside: Hop on 70 East, follow to 465 North to Pendleton Pike. Turn right and then…you got it. Just as I say above.
Eastside: Where are you at? If you are east, you are already so close. Find your way here!