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We Tried Eminem’s Mom’s Spaghetti In Los Angeles — Here’s The Verdict

His palms are sweaty,
Knees weak; arms are heavy.

There’s vomit on his sweater already —
Mom’s spaghetti.

He’s nervous but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs but he keeps on forgetting…

It’s one of the most gripping opening stanzas in all of hip-hop history. It’s visual, visceral, and, in just a few syncopated syllables, shows Eminem’s mastery of the natural musicality of language. It’s such an effective opening that not only does it fill you in on the plot and story of the movie 8 Mile, you can practically taste B-Rabbit’s mom’s spaghetti (both as it goes down and as it comes up). But nothing about that opening line suggests that B-Rabbit’s mom has a handle on centuries worth of Italian culinary tradition.

Begging the question: Do we even want to try this dish?

The short answer is “yes.” Last September, Em and Curt Callo and Ann Stevenson (of Union Joints Restaurant Group), launched the 8 Mile-themed Mom’s Spaghetti in Detroit and absolutely crushed it. Em himself even made an appearance at the service window. So it’s not shocking that as the legend pulls up to LA for the Super Bowl halftime show, he’s bringing his mom’s spaghetti with him for another pop-up.

This Super Bowl weekend (starting today), diners will be able to try the Mom’s Spaghetti concept via Postmates — or in-person at a pop-up — housed at Uncle Paulie’s Deli in DTLA — while supplies last. Items on the full menu include a simple plate of parmesan-dusted spaghetti, toasted garlic bread, beef and vegan meatballs, and the S’ghetti sandwich (a favorite straight out of Eminem’s real-life upbringing). Postmates will also be holding a sweepstakes that offers ten people the chance to score a limited-edition jar of Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce, signed by Em himself.

Before you throw down your money on Mom’s Spaghetti, you’re going to want to know if it’s any good — so we tried the whole menu for you! But not before asking co-owner Curt Catallo and Chef Chris Springer some questions about what to expect.

“Mom’s spaghetti” almost sounds like slander in Lose Yourself. But I’d imagine this is a classic Spag Bol or what Italians would call a Bolognese or NY Italians would call ‘Sunday Gravy?’

Catallo:

I think the reason why that line connects in such an incredible way is that everyone knows that spaghetti reference… it could be Rabbit’s mom or anyone else’s… we’ve all had it. And I don’t think it’s slander, we’ve all been nervous before going into battle!

Springer:

The standard sauce is straight — like a jar sauce but totally scratch. We have the bolognese in Detroit, because Em’ asked for one.

What was your experience with that type of sauce and how did you develop this recipe?

Catallo: We started making the sauce in ‘17 for the Revival Pop-Up at the Shelter (in Saint Andrews) and took it to Coachella.

Springer: We worked with Paul Rosenberg and their crew to dial it in along the way. We had a big tasting and perfected it right when the pandemic hit, literally eating Mom’s when they canceled March Madness, and locked the recipe.

What hallmarks do you want the sauce to have? Is there a ‘Detroit style’ to this type of sauce or is it pretty much NY style? Or even true Italian?

Catallo: What we were going after for Paul and Marshall was a sauce that was totally straightforward and legit. It’s not my grandma’s sauce because it’s not supposed to be. Mom’s is a classic, straight red sauce.

Eminem’s raps always seemed to paint the sort of world where people would overcook pasta — do you keep things al dente?

Springer: When we make Mom’s we want it to taste like it’s an incredible leftover when you get it. We cook all the spaghetti ahead of time and reheat it in a wok with sauce to order. It gives it a snap.

Spaghetti w/ Balls/Vegan Balls

Eminem Food Review
Dane Rivera

As Catallo alluded to, the Mom’s Spaghetti concept is less about offering a gourmet experience and more about capturing the flavor of delicious leftovers. Like when you pour through the door after a late night, half-buzzed and half-asleep from your midnight adventures, crack open the fridge, and dive into carb-loaded comfort food. I’m happy to say that it completely captures that magic. From the take-out style packaging to the reheated wok noodles, this stuff tastes good and is as much a people-pleaser as “Lose Yourself.”

The appropriately juvenilely named Spaghetti with Balls is Mom’s Spaghetti’s main menu item. It can be ordered solo, or with beef or vegan meatballs. The spaghetti itself does have that snap to it that Springer mentioned, looking at the dish I was fully expecting soggy noodles that would turn to mush in my mouth, but I was surprised to find a pleasing firm-but-chewy texture to them.

Eminem Food Review
Dane Rivera

The sauce was another surprise, it smells incredibly pungent — the garlic fills your immediate surroundings and that’s not a pure compliment! But the sauce does its job, it keeps the noodles interesting, and adds a lot of brightness and some complex savory umami qualities. It’s delicious, not life-changing but altogether makes for a dish worth ordering — especially with the garlic toast that it’s served alongside.

The meatballs, both beef, and vegan are a lot more forgettable. I’m not sure if this was a result of losing some flavor in transit, but both the beef and vegan balls were a bit on the dry side. Not to the point of being inedible, but entirely skippable. The beef meatball was the juicier of the two, and featured a nice savory balance of salt, garlic, and peppery flavor.

Eminem Food Review
Dane Rivera

The vegan balls also had a good flavor, if a bit drier. They were much more noticeably plant-y and featured a spicier onion-forward flavor. If you need the protein to complete the meal, go for whichever ball sounds better for you, but I think you’re better off just ordering the spaghetti on its own.

Or, better yet, opt for this next option…

S’getti Sandwich

Eminem Food Review
Dane Rivera

When I first saw the S’getti sandwich I thought it was kind of dumb (carbs on carbs!). Then I realized that when I’m eating spaghetti leftovers, I’m usually utilizing the garlic bread in exactly this way. This sandwich isn’t the dumb one, it’s me!

Putting spaghetti on top of your garlic toast is a delicious experience, and Mom’s Spaghetti just builds it for us. This is the essential order from the pop-up. It combines the best of what the restaurant concept offers — the buttery garlic french toast, which is crunchy but soft on the inside, and the snappy bright noodles — and further elevates both with a slice of delicately salty melted mozzarella. It’s last night’s pasta plus a grilled cheese sandwich. Delicious and genius!

The dish has a great mouthfeel, it’s crispy and crunchy, chewy, but not mushy, and features a savory garlic flavor that settles on the palate nicely. B-Rabbit never rapped about his mom’s S’getti sandwich, but he damn sure should have!

The Bottom Line:

Order the S’getti sandwich. It doesn’t conjure up nostalgia for 8-Mile but it’s legitimately delicious and deserves a spot alongside your other Super Bowl food favorites this weekend. Also, for true stans of Em, it’s a dish he actually ate when he was a young kid, more like B-Rabbit than the modern Eminem we know today. And that’s pretty cool.

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