In this episode of Restaurant Impossible, Robert visits one of the more unique eateries he has been to. I say because at this location you have a Italian restaurant featuring a separate cooking station in the dinning room, a petting zoo, a wine shop, and a winery. These are all the passions of the owner, Luigi
Mamma D's Italian Restaurant & Winery | Click here for the restaurant website
There was a lot of things to address in this episode. Robert had to tackle the petting zoo. He was completely against it and ordered the animals to be taken back to Luigi's home. I personally see the appeal and charm the animals had. Louie was going for a European country style appearance. Some people probably aren't going to like it, but I don't know if it was really taking from the restaurant business (minus the time Louie spend taking care of the animals). I think it might have been nice to at least have some chickens there, so you can show that all the eggs that are being used are fresh.
Robert also did not like Luigi's personal cooking space in the dinning room. I think it's a cool idea, but not done that way they were doing it. I would have kept it as a show space. On the weekend nights, have Louie there cooking a special menu just for the people who reserve a special chef's table. But you can't have different food coming to one table from different locations. It doesn't work, so at least they eliminated a problem.
Another issue they were having was back in the main kitchen. Louie's son was a trained chef, but wasn't being given the freedom to flourish. With Robert's pushing, the son became the new head chef of the restaurant. He has remained in that position to this date.
Pasta Fagioli | Click here for the recipe
This pasta dish contains pulled pork, cannellini beans, and tomatoes served over fusilli pasta.
Pan Seared Bronzino with Mushroom Pan Jus | Click here for the recipe
A boneless bronzino fillets that is pan-seared along with mushroom stock, fresh mushrooms, white wine, and fresh herbs.
Even thought Robert seemed to have crushed some of Luigi's dream in the end he seems happy with his new role of CEO over his restaurant and winery. They seem to have a pretty positive reaction to the whole experience. I have seen some restaurants have a very negative response after the show, but Mamma D's advertising the re-airing of the episode on their facebook page. Also as I mentioned before his son still rules the kitchen.
I did read some negative reviews online, but nothing that made me too concerned to not eat there if I was in the area. If you have been there since the show, let me know what you think in the comment section below.
I found a video on YouTube talking about the restaurant one year after Robert's visit.
Want to find out when I post my next RI follow-up. Make sure to follow me on Twitter.
If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.
I have eaten at Mama's before and after the visit from the Restaurant Impossible crew, and have to say that there is a noticeable difference. The place seems far less cluttered with junk, and the menu is smaller, as well as the portions. I'm cool with that though, as I think that sometimes restaurants tend to give you too much.
The decor is much nicer, but from what I hear (I am not sure, but a friend told me) that the animals are back.
The family is very, very nice, so I'd say check them out if you're local.