Our Mom and Kid team take on Dublin's Mellow Mushroom.


For me to eat my pizza anywhere other than at home, hunkered down on the couch and watching a favorite TV show, a pizza-serving restaurant better have something more to offer than just good pizza. And I think that's what Mellow Mushroom is aiming for. I'm not sure it worked for me, but I appreciated the effort.

We headed to the new restaurant in Dublin one Sunday evening. I tried calling ahead to get either a reservation or call-ahead seating, having heard it had been packed with lines out the door. No dice on either request. If I had little ones (hungry little ones, to be more precise), that would be an issue for me. Because of the no-reservation policy, we went unfashionably early and were seated quickly, but by the time we left, an hour later, the rumored line out the door had begun.

First thing I noticed were the TV monitors. Outside of the electronics department at Target, I don't think I've ever seen so many TVs - and all of them tuned to the same basketball game - in one place. I could see seven without moving my head (12 if I did look around). It was a bit much.

Now the service was perky and personable, the waitress joking with us because it took my husband longer to pick out a beer than decide on his pizza toppings (to be fair, the number of beers to choose from is, like the TV sets, excessive yet not complaint-inducing).

For appetizers, we settled on hot wings (six for $5; deemed hot but not hot by the hot-wings connoisseurs in our party), Sweet Thai Chili wings (also six for $5; very tasty, though the meat was lukewarm, so the wings had probably been sitting a while and then were sauced at the last minute), and bruschetta ($6.25; their twist is feta cheese: it worked).

Between the four of us, we then split three 10-inch pizzas (a plain cheese for $8, a "Mellowterranean" for $12.50 with chicken, roasted red peppers and olives to name a few ingredients, a customized monstrosity of protein and dairy products that my husband built for $13) and we still took home leftovers. The crust there is very thick and chewy, not my favorite kind but it does make for a substantial meal.

The bathroom was fine (there is a diaper-changing station in the women's room), though already having some plumbing woes. And the bill arrives only with the post-tax total, so if you compute your tip based on the pre-tax total, you'll have to ask to see what that is.

All things considered, it was a good meal but probably not good enough to budge me off the couch again.
-- Jane Hawes

The name of the restaurant concerned me a little because I thought there were going to be mushrooms on all the pizzas. I found out that was not true. The inside of the restaurant, though, looked like a forest of mushrooms. It was interesting in a weird way.

I didn't want Sweet Thai Chili wings for the appetizer. I wanted barbecue wings but my mom didn't let me. She said I had to try something new but I don't think I've ever had barbecue wings either. So she was half right, half wrong. The Sweet Thai Chili wings were pretty sweet and I liked them.

For dinner I got cheese pizza without parmesan. It was just mozzarella cheese. I liked it a lot. It was cheesy. They have really good mozzarella. There was not too much red sauce, which I am very picky about. The crust was quite soft, which is good if you don't like hard pizza.

The service was great. They were really nice. I think we got our food pretty quickly.

There were two TVs in the boys' bathroom, above the urinals. I thought it was a little weird. But it was very clean in there. The sink was cool because instead of a drain, it had this slide kind of a shape where it went diagonally into the wall.

There were a lot of sports fans there and the TVs played all the same thing, which was a basketball game. It was unusual.

The look was better than the food. It was not my favorite kind of pizza, but I would go back.
-- Colin Hawes