Originally, Mother's was our scheduled breakfast joint on Monday morning. However, due to an epic fail on my part (not checking the hours of operation), it was not open. Since we were heading to the Oregon Zoo, we altered our plans for a different Downtown eatery (which was Bijou Cafe). Now, Bijou was pretty good; but the thought of not giving Mother's a try before we left Portland was not sitting well with me. Actually, missing any eating opportunity would not sit well in general. Hence, I shoehorned another breakfast before our 5 hour drive North. Like almost every place we've visited in the past week, there has been a lineup. Roughly a 20-minute wait, not bad. There was a small area where the kids could play too, so that made the wait more bearable.
This family-friendly restaurant, complete with home-cooking classics, is run by chef/owner Lisa Schroeder (who is a mother & grandmother). Back in the 90's, she realized that there was a lack of restaurants offering food that she would cook at home (if she had the time). This became the inspiration for Mother's Bistro. For us, we were just happy that there was a place we could bring the kids where there would be food that they'd eat. Now, I'm not sure if my mom ever forced me to eat liver; but I really wanted to try the Chopped Liver at Mother's. Yah, there is no need to force me to eat liver, spinach or anything like that. I'd eat it happily. Now as for my son... Liver? Yah, the day I move to Richmond! For those who haven't had chopped liver before, think pâté. It's not exactly the same, whereas chopped liver is a combination of liver, onions and sometimes egg. This was good. Smooth enough to spread; yet with some texture and only moderately seasoned. Went well with the crackers.
For my main, I decided on Mother's Rueben consisting of corned beef brisket, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Islands on grilled bread. Loved the tender meat and the ample tartness from the sauerkraut. I'm not a huge fan of Thousand Islands dressing; but it worked in this case. As for the side macaroni salad, it had a lot of dressing on it. I did like that the pasta somehow managed to remain al dente. Viv went for the breakfast special which was a Meat Omelet which consisted of cheese, bacon, ham and sausage. With that combination, it was predictably salty; but not in a bad way. She liked that it provided the necessary flavour for the omelet. Now the egg portion of the dish was subpar. It was very rubbery and overcooked. Unlike the fluffly eggs at Bijou, this was not to our liking.
As always, my son opted for the Kid's Pancake (added chocolate chips). Made to look like Mickey Mouse with ears and banana slices with chocolate chips for eyes, this thing was massive. An adult would have a tough time finishing this, let alone a picky, low appetite kid. I give it to him that he ate as much as he could handle. I tried it and it was fluffy and tasty. No need for syrup. But of course my son doused it in syrup. For our daughter, we got her a Kid's Mac 'n Cheese. It ended up as bowties and cheese which really worked out because she pretended it to be butterflies flying into her mouth. Score! The bowties were al dente while the cheese sauce was cheesy, not salty. It could've been a bit smoother in my opinion.
In general, the food was alright based on brunch/lunch alone. Sure, it ain't hoity toity; but that is not the premise here. It's about being comfortable in a family-friendly environment with food that resembles home-cooking. Add honest and personable service into the mix as well. In fact, mother herself (Lisa Schroeder) came out and greeted us while settling the bill. For us, that was exactly what we needed as we prepared to leave Portland for home after 5 busy days running around and eating.
- Comfortable, homey atmosphere
- Some items were not that refined (but that is not the premise of the place)