It goes without saying that we should be thankful for our mothers 24/7/365. But too often, we forget to thank our moms for all the nurturing and support, and—against all odds—somehow keeping us from becoming evil rat bastards like Dick Cheney. So, we designate a day in May each year to say, "Well done, Mom!" And, we take her to breakfast, brunch or dinner.
Of course, all the usual suspects will be polishing the silver for Mother's Day feasts: places like La Caille, Log Haven, Tuscany, Bambara, Faustina and The Grand America, among others. But I'm trying to think out-of-the-box this year with a few dining destinations that might not be on your Mother's Day radar. This is how I spell "M-O-T-H-E-R."
M is for Mariscos Mi Lindo Nayarit (145 E. 1300 South, 801-908-5727), a brightly colored, festive Mexican restaurant specializing in fish and seafood of all types at ridiculously reasonable prices. That this gem hasn't been colonized by hipsters yet is miraculous, although it could be because there's no porkbelly or kale on the menu. Instead, you'll find oysters on the half-shell, shrimp ceviche, whole fried tilapia with garlic sauce, crawfish soup, octopus (pulpo) tostadas and specialties like camarones a la diabla: shrimp in a fiery "devil's" chile sauce. So, why not treat Mom to a Mexican getaway this year for Mother's Day?
Runner-up: Take mom to the Irish-themed Sunday brunch at MacCool's Public House (multiple locations, MacCoolsRestaurant.com).
O is for Oasis Cafe (151 S. 500 East, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com), where Mom can leave the household chaos behind and find respite on the serene, sun-drenched Oasis patio. On May 10, Oasis Cafe is offering a special Mother's Day brunch from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The smorgasbord will feature hot and cold entrees, including a prime-rib carving station, maple-mustard glazed salmon, cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce, shrimp enchiladas, crab cakes with mango salsa, Mediterranean pasta salad, a chocolate fountain and other temptations too numerous to name. If you'd prefer instead to treat Mom to dinner, the cafe opens at 5 p.m. on Mother's Day for its regular supper service.
Runner-up: Enjoy the flavors of Greece at the Other Place Restaurant (469 E. 300 South, 801-521-6567), serving breakfast, lunch and dinner on Sundays, including Mother's Day.
T is for Tiburon (8256 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-255-1200, TiburonFineDining.com). Back before "contemporary American cuisine" was a culinary catchphrase, Tiburon Fine Dining restaurant was dishing it up. They've been doing so in Sandy since 1999. Ken Rose and his crew will tempt Mom with menu options such as the house specialty: New Zealand elk tenderloin, char-grilled and served with mushroom duxelles, green-peppercorn demi-glace and garlic mashers. Or, she might prefer the ahi tuna, dusted with Asian spices and black sesame seeds, seared to rare, topped with honey-soy sauce and accompanied by pineapple fried rice.
Runner-up: Trio (680 S. 900 East, 801-533-8746; 6405 S. 3000 East, 801-944-8746, TrioDining.com), where at both the downtown and Cottonwood locations, you and Mom can enjoy brunch on the sunny patios with menu choices such as paninis, stone-fired pizzas, flatbreads and breakfast/brunch dishes like salmon hash, sweet focaccia French toast and eggs Italiano.
H is for Himalayan Kitchen (360 S. State, 801-328-2077, HimalayanKitchen.com). I know, you thought I was going to recommend Hooters, didn't you? Well, not so fast. I think many mothers would love to mix things up on Mother's Day with the sort of exotic flavors you'll find at Himalayan Kitchen, where both Nepalese and Indian cuisines await. Start Mom off with an order of Himalayan momos: steamed dumplings stuffed with a choice of veggies, bison or chicken with onion, garlic, ginger, spices and homemade sesame sauce. The adventurous might want to try the traditional Nepali goat curry or rayo ko saag: spiced and stir-fried mustard greens. For fans of Indian food, there's plenty here, from curries (korma and masala), to vindaloos (tikka and tandoori). There's also a terrific little wine list and lots of lassi libations.
Runner-up: Harley & Buck's (2432 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-745-2060, HarleyAndBucks.com) serves Sunday brunch with tasty biscuits & gravy, eggs Benedict, mimosas and more.
E is for Em's (271 North Center St., 801-596-0566, EmsRestaurant.com), where you and your mom can escape the Mother's Day brunch crowds and enjoy a pleasant Sunday supper on the patio or inside Em's. Located in historic Marmalade Hill, Em's is the original Salt Lake City neighborhood bistro, and chef/owner Emily Gassmann continues to enthrall loyal customers with her splendid dishes, typically made from organic and locally sourced ingredients. I can't imagine a mom who wouldn't love the sensational chèvre-stuffed tamales and chipotle con crema appetizer. And for an entree, I'd tempt her with Em's leek-stuffed wild salmon roulade, served over a bed of creamy cabbage. Bonus: You wouldn't think a place as cozy as Em's would have such an excellent wine selection, but it does.
Runner-up: What deserving mother wouldn't love to be treated to dinner at Eva (317 S. Main, 801-359-8447, EvaSLC.com), where small plates and big flavors co-exist?
R is for Red Maple (2882 W. 4700 South, 801-747-2888), where you'll treat your dear mother to Chinese-style dim sum. During Sunday's dim sum service, an endless Conga line of food carts are wheeled from table to table with an immense array of appetizer-size tidbits. The dim sum menu features 40-or-so offerings ranging from steamed dumplings and rice rolls to baked custard buns, noodle soups, turnip cakes, chicken feet with black-bean sauce, steamed barbecue pork buns, various types of congee, sticky rice in lotus leafs and stuffed taro. Why, there's even a respectable wine/sake/beer list, or you could treat Mom to a bottle of bubbly in the form of Segura Viudas Spanish Cava.
Runner-up: A meal on the pretty patio at Ruth's Diner (4160 Emigration Canyon Road, 801-582-5807, RuthsDiner.com) is a no-brainer. Check out the new Ruth's Creekside while you're there; it's a liquor outlet and grocery store all in one.
Happy Mother's Day!