As a work-from-home mom, speed, ease, and convenience are key factors in the choices I make. When a friend suggested Made Restaurant as my first review for Mommy Magazine, a quick search told me that I could make a reservation on OpenTable, (i.e. without talking to anyone) that they are family-friendly with a great kid’s menu, and that there is a free parking garage, and my decision was made. My decision was Made.
We arrived at 5:30 to a mostly empty restaurant with our choice of tables. Quinn, my 2.5 year old was delighted by the fountain and the “fire that looked like ice cream cones” (patio heaters), and I approved of the partially enclosed patio, so we chose to sit outside. I love outdoor seating options with my kids, their inside voices aren’t particularly reliable yet, and I feel much more relaxed in the open air. On the table was a mason jar with a flameless candle inside, and the kids were totally fascinated by the fact that it was safe to handle.
The hostess brought over 2 (of the 3 total…I suggested to the manager that they might consider getting some more) highchairs, a coloring book, crayons, and menus right away. Our friendly waitress, Alejandra, returned quickly to take our drink order, and reappeared almost immediately with glasses of water for Gabriel and I, and a straw cup with a lid for Quinny. I’d previewed the menu online, as I often do, and was ready to order our food. As all of you know, the window of opportunity with a toddler and a baby is small, and time is of the essence when tummies are already rumbling. While we waited for our meals, and the kids were occupied with the candle and coloring, I visited the restroom and was happy to find a cleverly-hidden changing table ready to be used for diaper changes, something thats too-often missing from more upscale restaurants.
By the time I came back, our food was being served. We quickly moved all of the hot dishes away from my 1 year old, Dori- who tends to grab immediately at anything and everything edible (or not) that’s placed in front of her. The presentation of the outstanding Tuna Poke Napoleon was quite beautiful with it’s layers of color and texture, and even Quinn, who is in a ‘white and yellow foods only’ phase, looked for a second like she might want a taste. That thought quickly vanished when a bowl of creamy, cheesy, penne pasta was served to her, and she wasted no time digging in. It was clear that she loved every bite, and Dori gobbled it up too. The adorable mini-bucket of fresh fruit salad that came with it was rejected by her but enjoyed by the rest of us.
My main dish was the grilled Caesar Salad with grilled scallops. Aside from too heavy of a hand on the dressing, this dish was awesome, with scallops cooked perfectly, crunchy corn bread croutons, and generous parmesan and anchovies. I was a little bummed that Dori really loved the scallops also, because I didn’t particularly want to share them. Womp womp. At least she was happy. Gabriel’s Pulled Fish sandwich was okay, but had so much more bread and sauce than fish that it wasn’t the balance I wanted. The cheesy tots on the side were an indulgent treat for me, but too spicy for my kids to enjoy, and my husband wasn’t a fan either. We also shared the smoked catfish appetizer and although we all LOVED the cornbread, none of us went back for a second taste of the spread itself. It had a strange smokey flavor that just didn’t taste right- and was almost a bitter contrast to the sweet cornbread.
Our waitress checked on us a couple of times, refilled drinks, and made sure we were well-taken care of, and I really appreciated that. I find that one of the biggest hurdles in taking my kids out to eat, is to make sure that I can eat also instead of only being focused on whether they do or not…and having help from wait staff is something I don’t take for granted.
At the end of our meal, as I always do, I requested a broom or dishcloth to clean the horrendous mess that baby Dori left beneath her highchair. I truly don’t mind doing it, but of course I like it even more when I don’t have to. Alejandra said she would “absolutely not” let me do it and I thanked her.
Overall, this was a great choice for my first Whine & Dine restaurant review. I am so excited to be back in the “write about what you love” game, and happy to say that Made left us feeling that families were very welcome there. It’s always a gamble taking my kiddos out for dinner, and going to eat where we are treated attentively and kindly was a wonderful reward.