Mama Catena

February 23, 2021 at 9:05 PM 4 comments

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we have intentionally stayed away from exploring new restaurants. Michele only feels comfortable visiting places we know and she believes have good health standards. With a new place, health standards are likely fine, but we don’t know for certain. With a vaccine, that is going to change, but for now we’re staying with old favorite. We have, however made one exception. After a televised news story about the safety measures initiated by Mama Catena, Michele immediately asked, whether we should alter our plan. It turned out to be one of the greatest concessions we’ve made since the beginning of the dark days of COVID.

Mama Catena is a small spot tucked into a strip shopping center in Euclid. As expected, the outside is pretty average, but once inside, there is a jazzy vibe and the scent of classic Italian cooking invites you to sit, relax and enjoy an hour or two forgetting about the outside world.

One of the changes they’ve made is a locked front door. To gain access, you need to call. Our first visit, we called for reservation and once in the parking lot, we called again and they opened the door. Another spur-of-the-moment visit started with a call asking if they had a table. They did, no problem, but they asked us to wait a moment while they cleaned the table and prepared for our visit. When ready, the host popped open the door and waved us in. Utensils were wrapped, salt, pepper and cheese are tucked into a personal envelope and side plates were in the center. Unlike some other places, you would never know a table or four were missing. The room looks great. It is apparent these owners were doing everything humanly possible to keep their guests safe and protected.

All of these precautions would be of little value if the food wasn’t so darned good. The first clue is the cleverly boxed bread sections. It was warm and tasty and a good start. Michele is a sucker for a simple plate of Angel Hair pasta and sauce. She enjoyed their fresh, chunky, light Pomodoro. She also liked the side-sausage that packed its own flavor punch. Earlier, Michele tried the rigatoni accompanied by their rich and flavorful Marinara with meatballs. The menu allows you to choose a pasta, choose a sauce and add any extras. She has concentrated on this option while Jeff explored the other areas of the menu. He was crazy about the Pasta con Pepe e’ Cacio, a beautiful, peppery plate of wide noodle and Romano accented, oil and garlic sauce. The Involtini is a wide sheet of pasta filled with a mozzarella and ricotta, then rolled into a pinwheel and sliced. The menu suggests a Marinara sauce, but our helpful server mentioned that it is very popular with the Rosella sauce, a combination of Marinara and Alfredo. This is a VERY rich dish with a ton of cheese, but very good.

We normally don’t make a big deal about the dinnerware in restaurants, but even that is interesting here. The earthenware bowls are beautiful and set this above the standard restaurant.

The menu is a monster. There is a pile of appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta mix and match, pasta specialties and a number of secondi. Upon seeing the massive amount of options, we were leery. Could they deliver ALL of these options well? After multiple visits, the answer is an unquestionable, YES! Jeff is waiting to try the Veal Picatta, the long boned pork chop and their Sunday Sauce bowl. One of his pandemic exercises has been perfecting Carbonara, so of course, that is intriguing as well. Michele is eyeing the Cartoccio, a baked sausage with onions and green peppers…if she can get away from the Angel Hair!

After all that food, you’d think dessert was impossible, but you’d be wrong. Ask for a take-away container, box up the remaining bread square and try their luscious options. The Tiramisu was heavenly and the Cannolo was picture-worthy, essentially cannoli filling layered between cake discs. Regardless of how much you ate, you want to try this.

We are very excited to try all of the new places opening this year. That is still going to be a few weeks away. In the meantime, we are more than happy to return again and again to Mama Catena.

https://www.mamacatenas.com/ 711 Babbitt Road Euclid, OH 44123 216-261-1168

Mama Catena – Beautiful earthenware supports wonderful food.
Mama Catena – A clever box that holds the bread and can be closed for an easy leftover trip home.
Mama Catena – The envelop contains salt, pepper and cheese, safely packaged for individual use.
Mama Catena – Pasta con Pepe e’ Cacio
Mama Catena – Cannolo, a cannoli-like stacked cake that is actually lighter than you’d expect.

Entry filed under: Cleveland Food Comments, Cleveland Restaurants Review. Tags: , , .

Eating Out in the Time of COVID – #2 Avo

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Judith  |  February 24, 2021 at 9:22 PM

    But was the menu as large as the menu in Schitt’s Creek?!?!

    Reply
  • 3. Jill (@bonnjill)  |  March 2, 2021 at 10:15 PM

    One of my favorite restaurants. I’ve been trying to support them during the shutdown by getting takeout. I have had several things on the menu, but I absolutely adore the Sunday Sauce. Jeff won’t regret it. And yes, the Cannolo is fantastic. Imagine it as a huge cake – it was my cake at my 50th birthday party. Everyone RAVED about it.

    Reply
    • 4. jeffandmicheleeatcleveland  |  March 2, 2021 at 10:19 PM

      Thanks for the conformation! Glad you agree. Can’t wait for normal restaurant visits.

      Reply

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