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Hungry Mother: Terrific Dining for Hungry Glutards

Hungry Mother, located in Kendall Square, around the corner from the Kendall Square Cinema, has managed to maintain the excitement and popularity since its initial opening a few years ago.   Hungry Mother is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston.  The menu is focused, locally-sourced, seasonal and always loaded with excellent gluten-free options (including their amazing cornbread).  I like that the menu changes with the seasons, there is always something new to try.

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The atmosphere and décor are homey and unpretentious.  I especially love the bathroom with walls papered with cookbook pages.  It makes bathroom time learning time.  Being a small Cambridge space, the bar area is small, with just a few high top tables near the bar.  It’s hard to fit in the bar area while waiting for your table, especially during peak times as people come in and out of the area.

Their drinks menu has a breadth of options: from box to high-end wines, as well as a variety of beers and mixed drinks. I actually recommend the box wine.  It’s actually very good.

I also really like their deal with the Kendall Square cinema: dine before 6 p.m. and someone will run over to the cinema to pick up your tickets at a discounted $8 apiece.  The tickets come right to your table with the bill.

The dining areas are equally compact, but not uncomfortably so.  While tables are close, the soft lighting helps to keep from feeling like one is dining at the same table as your neighbors.

This is one of the best restaurants for gluten allergies.  I have been here about a dozen times and each time, the staff has known the menu and cooking process for each item off the top of their head.  They always confirm for me that they will let the kitchen know about my gluten allergy.  I have never gotten sick from eating here.   This is especially impressive for a venue that changes their menu so frequently.

Hungry Mother is a perfect dining option for glutards.  Many of their items are naturally gluten-free.  They frequently use cornmeal instead of regular flour.  I would say I normally find between half to three-quarters of their menu to be gluten-free no matter the season.

On my last visit, I was stuck between two options, a chicken dish and braised beef cheeks.  The waitress, knowing about my allergy suggested I go with the beef cheeks, as I could experience it exactly as the chef intended.  While the chicken was good, the sauces were flour-based and therefore, I would miss out on an aspect of the dish.  I was thrilled that she thought about both my allergy and the experience of each dish.

Husband ordered some gnocchi to start, which were not gluten-free.  They looked and he attested they were, delicious.  I ordered a side of their gluten-free cornbread with sorghum butter, which was amazing.  Chef Maiden posted the recipe on the Daily Mail, so it is easy to make this amazing cornbread at home.

The beef cheek entrée was amazing.  It was the perfect portion size, served in a small lodge skillet (I love the ideas I get for my table from Hungry Mother, they have an idiosyncratic way of presenting their dishes).  It was like a high-end shepherd’s pie.  The beef cheeks were braised with small mushrooms and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes and a cornmeal crust.  The rich broth and the crunchy crust balanced each other nicely.

Husband ordered the pork and beans, which was also gluten-free.  That dish was nice too, but I thought it was a little one-note as both the beans and pork were soft and rich components.  I would have loved either a little acid or crunch to balance out the dish.

For dessert we shared a white chocolate mousse, served with cookies.  Husband took care of the cookies, leaving me to work on the mousse, which was rich and creamy.  Again the portion was just the right size, leaving us both full, but not so stuffed we felt ill.

I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone, but especially for people with gluten allergies looking for a special meal out.

I give Hungry Mother 5 stars for both quality of food and gluten-free friendliness!

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