Monday, January 27, 2014


Mother, Chef Michael Thiemann's eagerly-awaited vegetarian restaurant, opened in Sacramento last week. According to the restaurant's website, "Mother is a vegetarian restaurant built by and for omnivores with the aim of offering great food that just so happens to be meatless." My husband and I were there for lunch on opening day and found a steady stream of customers lining up at the counter.

The menu available on opening day didn't identify the vegan options, so I had to ask the staff for more information about the menu items. My first and second choices turned out not to be vegan. Since a line was starting to form behind me at the counter, I didn't want to slow things down by quizzing the cashier about all the other options, so I decided to just go with the Napa Cabbage Salad.

This beautifully-presented salad was a tasty mixture of cabbage and other greens, soy beans, watermelon radishes, carrots, sprouts, marigold petals, black sesame, grapefruit, and fried tofu, with a white miso-based dressing. I especially enjoyed the combination of the tofu and the grapefruit.

When I got home, I sent a message to the restaurant staff asking which of the menu items were vegan. They said they were reprinting their menus to indicate which dishes are vegan or gluten-free, and they sent me a copy of the new menu. The Carrot Nut Burger is listed as vegan, even though it comes with honey mustard, but they can substitute agave mustard or a harissa-based option instead.

I went back the next day, but didn't have the new menu with me and somehow managed to inadvertently order a dish that wasn't vegan, so I won't blog about that item. I did order a vegan dessert, though -- a Pineapple Mousse that was listed on the Specials board. It was silky and delicately-flavored, topped with candied cashews, chopped mango, puffed quinoa, and toasted sage. I wish it were on their regular menu instead of just being a special because it was superb!

Since the opening of an upscale vegetarian restaurant in Sacramento is kind of a big deal, I made one more visit with my friend Cathy before finishing this article. This time, the reprinted menu identifying the vegan options was in the restaurant, making ordering much easier. I decided on the Split Pea Soup, which Blair Anthony Robertson, the Sacramento Bee's restaurant critic, had dubbed "an instant classic." Creamy and delicious, it was garnished with carrot harissa and a falafel crouton, which really made this dish.

I also ordered the Fried Okra, seasoned with lemon and chili. Rather than cutting the okra in horizontal rounds, which is the way I usually see it, the okra was cut vertically before it was fried. It was a nice flavorful little snack.

The Pineapple Mousse was still listed on the Specials board, so I ordered it again. This time, chopped grapefruit replaced the chopped mango, but I liked the dessert just as much as I had the first time I tried it.

Since the current menu is labeled "Winter," I assume it will change seasonally. I can't wait to see what creative options will be on the menu for spring. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to trying the Eggplant Gumbo and the Romanesco and Broccoli very soon. Look for pictures from my future visits on my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page.

Mother is located at 1023 K Street, and their phone number is 916-594-9812. The website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at Last week, they were open for lunch only, but according to their Facebook page, they're going to start serving dinners this week. Lunch will be served Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and dinner will be served Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. I don't know what the lines will be like for dinner, but if you're going for lunch, it's best to arrive right after the restaurant opens or later in the afternoon because the line is out the door during the noon hour.


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting, I will give it a try. I'm glad that they are listing which items are vegan. That will certainly make it easier. I heard the okra was very good.

Kendy P said...

when i go to sac next i really want to try mother. i am hoping for more vegan options!

Pam said...

I think you'll like it, Rhonda. The okra was very good, but I'm really looking forward to trying the Romanesco and Broccoli side dish when I go back this week.

Pam said...

Kendy, when you go to Mother, be sure to check the Specials board next to the counter. They may have some additional vegan options listed there.

Kathryn P. said...

I went in last night and was so disappointed with the offerings. I guess I'll have to go back and give it a try based on your review.

Thanks for all that you do! It really helps us vegans out.

If you ever need post ideas - a happy hour post would be awesome. I know Sac has a lot of great happy hour spots, but I never know if there will be any food!

Pam said...

I'm sorry you were disappointed in Mother, Kathryn. I've tried several items there and my favorite so far has been the split pea soup. I noticed the last time I was there, though, that they've changed the menu to only offer a soup of the day, which may not be split pea every time. I've heard from a few people who have really enjoyed the carrot nut burger, but I haven't tried that yet. Thanks for the suggestion about a happy hour blog post. I'll give that some thought. For starters, you may want to try Tapa the World or Kasbah Lounge. They have a vegan menu for both restaurants, upon request.

Elaine said...

Yum! I want to go on a vegan eating adventure with you! My husband isn't vegan although he's supportive of my transition. And we also have a boy! :)

Pam said...

Thanks for commenting, Elaine. I know what you mean -- my husband and son aren't vegan either. I actually write this blog for people like you and me who do most of our dining out in non-vegan restaurants and need to know what vegan options are available for us. You've given me something to think about, though. Maybe I should organize occasional meetups with fellow vegans at local restaurants or some such thing. Any ideas?