By Celina Tennant
I’ve wanted to go to Mei Mei ever since I read about the Double Awesome, a sandwich that signifies everything that is good about the Boston food scene. They focus on Chinese-American cuisine that is creative and unique, while supporting sustainable business practices and local, family-run companies. They display a “We Love Our Local Suppliers” board on a wall in the dining room that lists the producers they work with, featuring businesses all within 200 miles of Massachusetts.
The three Li siblings started Mei Mei as a food truck back in 2012 and its success allowed them to turn it into a brick and mortar restaurant in late 2013. They also now have a kiosk in the seaport and a specialty sauce line that is distributed in many local retail locations.
My friend Emily and I planned to meet at 1 p.m. for lunch in hopes that we’d be hungry again for our Spanish tapas cooking class at Good Life Kitchen in Norwell at 6. I took advantage of the metered parking near Mei Mei, (I drove into the city today! I know that may not be a big deal to some, but I never drive into the city!) and by the time I walked into the restaurant, Emily was already sitting at a table. I can imagine that on a weekend night, with Mei Mei’s table service, there is a line out the door. For lunch, they do counter service and call your name when the food is ready.
The first thing that caught my eye as we stood at the counter was the Hot Buttered Fire Cider (below) for $3. I had never heard of such a thing! As I said this out loud, the woman behind the counter offered to let us try it. It was the perfect drink for a freezing cold day—warm and relaxing, but the spiciness gave it an exciting kick. (I found myself craving it later that night when we were walking to the car after our cooking class.) I ordered myself a full glass, and Emily got the Haymaker’s Punch with apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and fruit bitters for $3.
I, of course, ordered the Double Awesome—a sandwich like no other! It is a scallion pancake sandwich with green pesto, cheddar cheese, and two poached eggs for $7.50. You can add bacon, ham, or turkey for an extra $2.50. In my excitement, I forgot to add anything extra, but the sandwich itself was already so satisfying that it didn’t need anything else.
Emily went for the Pierogi Dumplings bowl for $7.50, but had a difficult time deciding between all of the tempting dumplings on the menu. She was not disappointed, however, with her choice, which she described as “mashed potato-y, cheesy goodness.” Emily is actually the best person to bring to a restaurant because she is always willing to go anywhere, try anything, and switch plates when I ask! The dumplings were wonderfully crispy on the outside and had a fluffy can’t-go-wrong potato and cheese filling on the inside. They were partnered with sriracha rice and pickled red cabbage.
We also got the Sweet Corn Fritters, just to cover all kinds of flavor profiles in one meal. Each fritter was similar to fried corn bread with its crispy shell and warm, soft center. They also had whole corn kernels inside, which added to the mild flavor, but what really made these fritters stand out was the sriracha aioli—a match made in heaven!
Mei Mei is one of those restaurants that not only put forth good food and atmosphere, but their philosophy on dining and sustainability makes you proud to be a tiny part of their story. Aside from the many accolades from greats like the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine Magazine, and Boston Magazine, just take my word for it and go try the Double Awesome.
506 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215