Mother’s Restaurant is one of those restaurants both tourists and local New Orleanians can appreciate. While it may fall into the “tourist trap” category, the place does some things really well. That said, there are only a few things that really stand out.
The first, by far, is the Ferdi special (or Ralph if you add cheese). A po boy with ham, roast beef and debris. If you aren’t familiar with debris, it’s the part of the roast beef that drips to the bottom of the pan while roasting. It’s full of flavor and very juicy.
Mother’s has some of the best debris in New Orleans, but the roast beef itself is a little dry. The Ferdi balances out so well because of the debris being a central component. This is definitely the best sandwich Mother’s has to offer.
Mother’s must turn out a lot of these po boys since the menus boasts that they annually cook over 175,000 pounds of ham and roast beef and serve 150,000 loaves of French bread.
Another one of Mother’s dishes I’m a big fan of is Jerry’s Jambalaya. Every time I’ve had it, the rice has been cooked perfectly, the chicken pieces the right size and the sausage spicy enough to give it a nice kick. Although, I will admit to adding some Crystal Hot Sauce for some added kick.
Mother’s Gumbo is also tasty, but I generally like a thicker roux when I’m eating gumbo. However, it will do in a pinch.
Most people overlook Mother’s breakfast, but seeing as how they cook over a quarter million biscuits, that many people can’t be wrong, right? I have found Mother’s to have some of the fluffiest eggs in town. That said, as good as the breakfast at Mother’s is, there’s a superior breakfast nearby at Majoria’s Commerce at Camp and Gravier. And there probably won’t be as long of line.
All in all, Mother’s Restaurant is a New Orleans staple that probably does serve more tourists than locals, but the food shouldn’t be ignored. They’ve been around since 1938 for a reason and seeing as how they serve a ton of food, everything can’t be phenomenal.
I have to admit, when I moved to New Orleans in 2007, I frequented Mother’s because it was close to my apartment and I liked it. But over the last five years, I’ve come to realize that most of the dishes at mother’s are inferior to some other places in the city. But I still love the Ferdi/Ralph and Jerry’s Jambalaya.
Mother’s Restaurant is located at 401 Poydras and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Be prepared to wait in line.