Our Mom and Kid team take on Dublin's Mellow Mushroom.
THE MOM SAYS
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 KID SAYS
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