Dave’s view: Look at this picture above from Mama Irma’s in Fountain Square, Indianapolis. When the waitress comes out with entrée and she places it on the table in reverse, I could have sworn I heard the beeping backup sound. “Beep, beep, beep.” It was way too big. Which gets to this point: If a plate of food is way too big, it’s probably not going to be prepared well because it’s trying to compensate for lousy taste it will bring to you inside your mouth. Unfortunately that is what happened. The entrée was Bisteck a lo Pobre. It’s steak with fried eggs on top. The meal comes with plantains, french fries, small salad, beans, and rice. The steak was a thin flank steak, I believe, and it was way over cooked. I prefer my steak well done, but this steak was done passed well done. It went into the “beyond donest” zone. If I was a dog, I would be chewing on this steak in the my backyard for over two days. Yes, it was that tough and dry. One more step and it would have been beef jerky. The egg on top was fried to the point that it was a flatten hardboiled egg. If the steak was marinated overnight in some mysterious spices and cooked lightly, and the egg was just cracked over the steak to cook the egg, this meal would have been excellent. Instead, the local Waffle House could have done a better job. For the side items, don’t put french fries on a Peruvian cuisine plate, it spoils the authenticity of the meal. The rice, salad, beans, and plantains were all of typical fare. Now, I’m going to back up (beep, beep, beep) to the appetizer.
The Papa Rellena. Now I’m tasting authentic Peruvian cuisine. Papa Rellana is beef, egg, cheese wrapped in potatoes with some type of special spice. I could have had a whole plate of these appetizers. The simple combination cheese, egg, beef and the spices seemed to roll around in your mouth and they’re having a party. A very special appetizer that should be an entrée (Poor papa).
This restaurant is small. It holds about ten tables, so if you’re going to dinner, you might want to see if they take reservations. The establishment doesn’t have a web site, so you have to call ahead. Inside the restaurant the decor is simple, yet classy. Gold plates on a black table-cloth catches your eye as you walk in.
The service here is very kind and quick. Even the people inside the restaurant eating will say “hi” to you.(Yeah, that was weird.)
Food: 4 Service: 9.5 Ambiance: 7 Total: 20.5 out of 30
$35-$40 without adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages.
Andrea’s View: Dave and I aren’t overly familiar with Fountain Square so we followed the advice of Dave’s GPS and took a very scenic route to Mama Irma’s. We aren’t familiar with Peruvian food either, so we weren’t sure what to expect. When we did arrive, we found a very charming and very small (about 10 tables) restaurant. As we walked in, another couple was sitting at a table and even said hello to us. We took them as employees/owners, but as we were sitting down another very friendly young lady handed us menus and suggested an appetizer. We took her up on that suggestion, and ordered the papa rellena. It was incredible. The potato on the outside was tender and the meat filling on the inside was perfectly spiced. It took Dave and I several minutes to decide on our entrée, the menu is quite extensive. I finally decided to “eenie meenie miney mo” my way to the picante de mariscos. This is basically a seafood stew with potatoes and peas. The seafood part consisted of squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, and one giant crab claw. The sauce was creamy and slightly thai-like in spice and flavor. That was the thing I noticed about the menu, Peruvian food has influences from unexpected places. Spanish, I understand. But it seemed like it was also borrowed from Italy and Asia. Lo mein noodles in Peru. Who knew?
Anyway, back to our food. As our server brought out our dishes, I felt a twinge of jealousy towards Dave’s plate. That big steak with the egg on top and the plantains on the side, while I’m staring at a lot of squid and peas with a big crab claw in the middle. Once I tasted my dish, however, my jealousy went away. The stew was fantastic, even if Dave had to crack open the claw for me. I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. I kept picturing Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman with my claw flying around the very tiny dining area. Then I tasted Dave’s steak and I felt very guilty for having such a wonderful dish. I said, “Hey, at least the papa rellena was awesome.” Dave replied, “Yeah it was.” Sorry Mama, but even that potato could not save the over-cooked steak and eggs. I tried, but I can’t repair this relationship. So we left, knowing we would probably not be back. We took the interstate home.