Reader Tyrone dropped Mama Annie's in the Suggestion Box an embarrassingly long time ago. (Sorry about the delay Tyrone!) Their relatively early closing time of 7:00pm meant we kept missing dinner. Finally, I made it in for lunch!
The restaurant itself is set in an unassuming building, near A&M's campus. The dining room is split into two small areas holding a few laminate booths and tables. A TV hung in the main dining area chattered quietly away. The A&M posters and sports schedules on the wall paid tribute to the owner's alma mater.
Despite my arrival in the middle of the lunch hour, there were few other patrons. Seeing a gentleman placing his order at the counter, I did the same. Afterwards, I saw other guests seat themselves and order from the table. Either way, the staff was gracious and accommodating.
I selected the Friday special of ribs with sides of macaroni and cheese and pinto beans and cornbread instead of a roll. My food came up quickly and I happily tucked in. The macaroni and cheese captured my immediate attention, because, well, carbs and cheese usually do. A light cheese sauce, a bit watery with fine particulates of cheese clung to a mixture of elbow macaroni and penne. Melted cheddar cheese helped the dish hold together and provided some creaminess. There was a hint of smokiness to the liquid, I believe picked up from the ribs.
The pinto beans were still firm, served in a liquid that sat squarely between "broth" and "sauce". Bits of meat lent credence to the "pinto beans cooked in ham hocks" listed on the menu, but they were seen more than tasted. Flavorwise it was mostly of a bit of salt and pepper.
My serving of ribs consisted of 2 ribs and 2 two small bits cooked with a dry rub. The meat was tender enough, but not fall-off-the-bone. Each rib sported a darker crust at top and bottom and an orange cast on the side, where the ribs had been pulled apart. The most notable thing was the lingering smokey flavor. They tasted of wood smoke and I was still randomly tasting it hours later.
The corn bread ran to the drier side but remained slightly spongey. Unsweetened, with a straightforward flavor, it wasn't bad, but it also wasn't oustanding.
Mama Annie's dishes up serviceable fare. The macaroni and cheese was the highlight of my meal, and while the pinto beans and cornbread were fine, the ribs just did not do it for me. To be fair, I am not a fan of dry-rub bar-b-que. To my mind, a good bar-b-que sauce is integral to the experience of ribs. Those of you who feel otherwise may have a different take. Still, I found the tenacity of the smokey flavor a little disconcerting. I would be willing to try it again (and order something besides ribs) if a friend was set on going but it's not someplace I'll go out of my way to get back to.
Total for the meal: $7.00 (Includes one rib plate special)
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