Mama Bird Southern Kitchen
Better Not Be Instant Coffee
Liam’s Lime Ginger Beer
Liam’s Jalapeno Ginger Beer
Spicy Fried Green Beans, Dill Ranch Dip
Pimento Cheese, Bacon Jam, Saltines, Candied Jalapeno Peppers
Wicked Deviled Eggs, Candied Jalapeno Peppers, Bacon
Smoked Pork Belly, White Cheddar Grits, Two Fried Eggs, Watermelon Wedge
Mac n’ Cheese Chicken Tender Waffle Sandwich, Pickle, Tomato, Lettuce, Crinkle Cut Fries, Sweet Potato Fries
Pecan Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Brisket, Pickles, Onions, Everything Biscuit, Mac n’ Cheese with Saltine Crackers
Sweet Cream Corn
Everything Biscuit, Honey Butter
Watermelon Soft Serve
Oreo Red Velvet Cake Jar with Chocolate Chips, Cream Cheese Frosting
Hummingbird Cake Jar with Bananas, Pineapples, Pecans, Coconut, Cream Cheese Frosting
With a continuous influx of folks looking to escape winter up North or the high prices of California 2018 was a banner year for dining off-Strip, and although accolades came for spaces across town many seem to have overlooked Mama Bird Southern Kitchen which opened in Southern Highlands at the peak of Summer.
Located at 10550 Southern Highlands Parkway in the same plaza as Spaghetty Western, an area not far from owner Robert Chiti’s own home, it is inside a long and narrow space that the UNLV Graduate and TAO Group Director of guest relations has built a tribute to the South, an Instagramable interior at the same time warm and inviting as guests are welcomed with “Ya’lls” and pleasant smiles.
Open at 7am daily and serious about both Food and Beverage, a native-Ohioan named Zachary performing double-duty as General Manager and Pit Master, it is from laminated menus and overhead boards that guests are invited to make selections, the counter-style ordering a bit cumbersome given the breadth of choices and in particular during peak hours when indecision can create a logjam in the waiting area.
Playing music at moderate volume, appropriately southern but mercifully not all country, guests are encouraged to begin with nonalcoholic Ginger Beer from Liam’s, a variety of flavors including Lime and Jalapeno each intense from Mule mugs and a nice compliment to Appetizers such as housemade Pimento Cheese or fried Green Beans with Cayenne in the Batter.
Featuring signage that reads “Wicked Chickens lay Deviled Eggs,” and rightfully turning the phrase into creamy Yolks with subtle heat beneath Candied Jalapenos and Bacon, Entrees include both lunch/dinner and all-day Breakfast from which Pork Belly that is smoked four hours is a highlight, the Fat rendered and everything else almost as supple while Grits with White Cheddar, Sunnyside Eggs and Watermelon marinated with Citrus round out the plate.
Obviously gunning for “the Gram” with a fork and knife Sandwich overflowing in Macaroni and Cheese plus Chicken, Lettuce and Tomatoes – both the fried Strips and Cheesy Noodles better on their own while a crispy Cornmeal Waffle proved difficult to assess as a result of its toppings – Sides including two styles of Fries plus Cream Corn and an “Everything” Biscuit all performed well with the latter in particular quite enjoyable as Cheddar Cheese is folded in and plays well off house-blended Herbs and Spices.
Originally not having planned to order any Barbeque, but convinced by Zach that the 12+ hour Brisket cooked over three woods and Pecan smoked Pork Ribs were worth it, it is for $25.95 that diners receive a half-rack that easily slips off the Bone plus a mix of lean and fatty Beef, the smoke not as deeply penetrating as Big B’s though nonetheless very good while Desserts such as the Hummingbird Cake and Oreo Red Velvet are delicious bargains for just $4, as too is Watermelon Soft Serve though if Mama Bird was being honest they’d list it with an asterisks giving Dominique Ansel credit.
FOUR STARS: With no website or marketing budget outside of Social Media Mama Bird is looking to make a go of it on quality Cuisine and word of mouth, the former largely accounted for at fair prices while the other seems to be spreading, though the counter-style ordering should be gotten rid of to create better flow and items built for Instagram should be skipped in favor of the good ol’ fashioned stuff.
RECOMMENDED: Pimento Cheese, Smoked Pork Belly, White Cheddar Grits, Sweet Cream Corn, Everything Biscuit, Pecan Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Hummingbird Cake Jar.
AVOID: Mac n’ Cheese Chicken Tender Waffle Sandwich.
TIP: Catering Menu available in-store and delivery via multiple sources including Postmates and GrubHub.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.