Abby and I were downtown and wanted to go somewhere interesting for a lunch last week. I felt like sushi, she felt like Thai food, and neither of us felt like eating in downtown proper, so we headed to Fountain Square. I had a Groupon for Mama Irma and the menu sounded interesting, so we headed in.
The restaurant is tiny inside, maybe ten tables, and completely charming. It has a nice sunny atmosphere for lunch but I’m willing to bet it would make a wonderful date night spot as well. There was only one server for lunch but he handled the four busy tables with ease and recommended entrees and dessert for us. I also am a sucker for salsa and bachata music, so that didn’t hurt.
Since I had originally felt like sushi, I looked at the seafood choices first. There were quite a few warm dishes, but at the advice of the server I picked the mixed seafood ceviche and was totally blown away. Shrimp and tilapia were marinated in a very bold lime juice and ginger blend and served with a wonderful creamy sauce that toned down the acidity of the ceviche nicely. It was served with a slice of steamed potato, peruvian corn, and fried soy nuts.
I would order this again in a heartbeat-it was the most interesting and refreshing thing I have eaten in a long time. However, I’d recommend ordering rice or another side to accompany it. As you can see, it’s basically a plate of fish.
Abby is a noodle fiend and had originally felt like Asian food so she ordered the Peruvian chicken “lo mein.” It was beautiful and delicious. I’m not really sure what was Peruvian about it, but it was a tasty plate of noodles, peppers, onions, and blackened chicken. I stole a bite and then another bite.
For dessert we split the Postre Mama Irma, “homemade upside down custard paired with a coffee-infused chocolate cake drizzled over with caramel sauce.” I won’t pretend to have tasted coffee or chocolate flavors, but the cake was oddly irresistible all the same. It reminded me of a cold, less sweet tres leches cake and I loved it.
I will definitely be back to Mama Irma to try the other specialties. I particularly have my eye on the purple corn custard. This place is so charming and the food is so interesting that I think it would make a great spot for a date or a dinner spot for out-of-town guests. But don’t wait for a special occasion to give it a try!