A Hamburger Today
Mei Mei in Boston Goes Brick and Mortar, Introduces Trotters and Waffles
So much for those New Years diet resolutions, but who could turn this down? When Mei Mei, arguably Boston's most beloved food truck, decided to expand and open an Audubon Circle restaurant with walls and doors and tables and chairs, they also expanded their menu. Now the roster of offbeat Chinese-ish, farm-to-table-type eats includes bigger plates like a rib and belly pork chop with steamed buns and fixin's that feeds four (sounds like a new-age take on Peking duck), confit beef tongue, kung pao chicken dip, and my most recent dinner, Trotters and Waffles ($14).
The portion doesn't look huge, but it's rich in every direction; you won't leave hungry. The trotters, from John Crow Farm in Groton (a regular supplier to Mei Mei), are made into a silky, incredibly creamy yet delicate-textured shreddy terrine that's kind of like rillettes but less compact. The slab is breaded with coarse, crunchy crumbs and cooked perfectly—tidy and golden like Shake 'n' Bake, but fried and delicious.
Underneath, the thick, Belgian-style brioche waffle could stand more textural contrast, but the buttery flavor is great, as are the whipped maple-Dijon and elegant carrot pickle slabs. What I think could use a redesign is the "spiced cranberry," which is actually a combo of cranberry and gochujang. There's something off about the sweet-tart berry flavor living with the fermented bean flavor of the chili paste, though some sort of acidity to break up all the richness is a must. Still, the dish is off on the right foot—horrible pun intended.
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.