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Mickey's in Hamden, CT

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ronbo97 Mar 22, 2007 08:45 PM

Last week's Flavor section in the Hartford Courant gave Mickey's Restaurant and Bar in Hamden a glowing review. Has anyone eaten there ? Kim and I would like to go and we want to make sure that we're not wasting our money.

  1. e
    ElizabethHenton Mar 23, 2007 07:05 AM

    Mickey use to own rosemary & sage in Old saybrook. He sold it several years back and he always puts out a great product. hamden's a stretch for me these days, but if you're nearby, I would bet you it's great.

    1. a
      ac0422 Apr 15, 2007 04:08 PM

      Mickeys is very good. Staff is friendly and the prices are very reasonable. Try the short ribs they are excellent.

      1. Scargod Apr 7, 2009 02:53 PM

        I really wanted to have dinner here by now but I did have a quick lunch there today.
        Service was very good. Disappointed that I could not get the Malbec, by the glass, that I wanted. The Zin I got was OK.
        I asked what was fast and got the turkey BLT as a wrap, with a salad as my side instead of fries. It was a good, solid meal with the salad lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar. My bill was $16.43, with the wine being $6.50 of it. Service was very good, but at 1:30 they were pretty dead. I looked at the dinner menu and it looked pretty interesting and varied.
        Has anyone else been? I am now realizing it is right there at the Whitney exit off the Merritt (15), so it's pretty easy to get to for me.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Scargod
          Veggo Apr 7, 2009 03:17 PM

          It's a curious spot to place a restaurant, in that small strip center, but I wish them well. I can't recall which tenant vacated to make the space available.

          1. re: Veggo
            Scargod Apr 7, 2009 06:06 PM

            Yes, not the most easily accessed and escaped from area. I had to drive around a bit before I got into the rear parking lot and then circuitously figured out how to leave.
            http://www.mickeysgroup.com/
            I ate there, long ago, when it was ?. Can't remember the name, but remember it was not very good.

            1. re: Scargod
              l
              lsnhc Apr 8, 2009 05:04 AM

              That spot is another one of those "haunted" restaurant locations. To my knowledge, there have been at least 2 or 3 other restaurants there prior to Mickey's, and it is my understanding that they are barely hanging on there now.

              1. re: lsnhc
                j
                joan mar Apr 8, 2009 07:58 AM

                I've been to Mickey's twice, but haven't been in about 2 years, so my experiences probably don't matter now. But our first visit started out really bad. We went on a Saturday night without a reservation and they said it would be a short wait, so we stepped over to the bar and my husband stood waiting for the bartender to acknowledge him for about 15 mins. There were only a few people sitting there, so I couldn't believe that he wasn't being helped. Then our table was ready and he quickly ordered 2 glasses of wine and the waiter said he would send them over to our table (about 10 ft. from the bar). Well, we waited for about another 10 mins. until our waitress came over to take our drink order and we told her we had already ordered at the bar and were waiting for delivery. She went & got the 2 glasses of wine & they were fine (can't remember what we had). I said to my husband "this is not a great start", but from that point forward it was great. Again, it's been over 2 years, but I remember the food as being quite good and the service was fine. We went another time for my daughter's birthday and we all enjoyed our meals and the service was great. We've been meaning to go back, but just haven't gotten around to it. (there are SO MANY restaurants that we want to try & we don't go out as often as we used to)

                1. re: joan mar
                  bagelman01 Apr 8, 2009 11:14 AM

                  Mickey's is my Favorite restaurant. I moved out of Hamden 4 years ago, but still drive to eat there about once a month. Great food, imaginative, but not strange. Portions are small>good for my waist, but I'd like more food.
                  Very good service.

                  It is a bad location, as many have closed there. BUT, the office building behind was a major IBM location in the 80s and it made sense to have a good dining spot there. Also, Town hall used to be right across the street.

              2. re: Scargod
                r
                rbailin Apr 10, 2009 12:14 PM

                Sea Breeze II. An awful restaurant that deserved its fate.
                And before that it was "R" Place (never ate there).

                1. re: rbailin
                  bagelman01 Apr 11, 2009 03:46 AM

                  R place should have been called F place, it was a loser...............

                  1. re: bagelman01
                    Veggo Apr 11, 2009 03:57 AM

                    If you are Richard Thomas' son, I remember him as a gentleman and a quality merchant, for years.

          2. Scargod May 30, 2009 01:03 PM

            Mickey's was reviewed by the New York Times on May 24. They gave it a "good" rating. They complained the most about the unevenness of the seasoning.

            We (3) went there last night and had an excellent meal. Given that it was Friday night at 7PM, they performed very well. I would say they were 85-90% occupied.
            I agree with the NYT's review that the chicken giambotta was very good; I would say, near fantastic. The best version of it I have tasted. It makes similar versions by Leon's and Tony and Lucille's pale in comparison.
            The lamb shank was not too salty this time; actually quite delicious. The star of that dish was the buttery polenta with the lamb gravy.
            My soft-shelled crab was disappointing. While the flavor was very good (and lemony), one of the crabs I had was over the hill as far as being "soft". There was no way I was going to eat the middle shell part of the body. I had a lot of chewing with just the legs. Had I eaten crabs more often I would have had the confidence of sending the one back. I talked to Passadumkeg about this and he agreed.
            All the vegetables for the entrees were perfectly cooked. My herbed, mashed potatoes were very good. The bread was fairly good, but a bit dry and crumby. It was easy to make a mess with it, on the table. My pic shows just two pieces. Someone was very fast with grabbing the bread and eating it before I could get the camera out. I think our guest was hungry!
            We started with a dozen oysters and these were very large, plump and tasty. My only regret was these were very clean and all the liquor was gone. They had been well-rinsed; at least more so than I am used to.
            We had white and red wines by the glass. I had a very good chardonnay and a pretty good sauvignon blanc with the crabs.
            There is a "wine room" dining area, in the back, that has four four-tops. You have to request to be seated in this area. I did not know of it in advance. Where we sat there was a lot of glass and a lot of traffic. This long, west facing side, except for the back room is long and narrow with a lot of glass. There is a lot of kitchen, waitstaff and customer traffic. It is busy and noisy. This area feels a lot like being in a Denny's. There is quite a bit of outdoor seating. I could not talk the others into going out there.
            Service was very good, but they were a little slow; I think because of the load on the kitchen. Still the pace was not bad enough to really complain about. Nothing like our 25 minute lull at Cavey's. While I am at it, I want to point out that we had four glasses of very good wine, a dozen oysters, three entrees ($20-27 each), latte and one dessert for a final bill of $152. That is compared to the two of us eating at Cavey's for $192. The day before Mickey's, six of us had a blowout dinner meal at Bentara's for $276. That's about twice as expensive for Cavey's.

            We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Mickey's. No, it's not Cavey's, and there are lots of subtle differences, but the food was fairy close. We will definitely go back and try and explore the other dining areas and more of the menu. I want to try the Salmon Marrakesh...

             
             
             
             
            2 Replies
            1. re: Scargod
              bagelman01 May 30, 2009 01:56 PM

              You should be thankful that the others in your party refused to dine outside...............
              I don't know whic is worse, the smokers, or the exhauset from those stuck at the red turn signal trying to make a left from Dixwell onto Whitney. Often, a vehicle could be there through 3 light cycles and the diesel fumes (and noise) could kill you.

              Mickey's is our favorite restaurant. We ask for a table in the back wine room, or to the far right side of the entrance. We try to avoid tables on the street side.

              Agree with you about the polenta, and have had really great hanger steak. My wife swears by their fish.

              1. re: bagelman01
                Scargod May 30, 2009 03:21 PM

                Perhaps so about being outside but it was Friday night. We'll sure be back. I cook good skirt, but hanger is hard to find. I'll certainly go back and may try it after the salmon. I want to figure out a new angle on cooking salmon.

            2. Scargod May 30, 2009 01:23 PM

              More pics (two from their website). They appear to have two private dining areas.
              Their Chilean Cab and the Argentina Malbec were fine, too. The chardonnay I liked was from California.
              I forgot the dessert. I shared a creme brule that came with coconut ice cream over thinly sliced pineapple. A nice dessert.

               
               
               
               
              1 Reply
              1. re: Scargod
                r
                rbailin May 31, 2009 04:52 PM

                I was fortunate to dine at Mickey's late last night (9 PM) as a reward after helping my friend move back to Hamden after spending several months (an eternity, really) in the culinary purgatory that is Danbury/Bethel.

                We started with the crab/mango/avocado salad, which is both divine and sublime, not to be missed when it's available as a special. This was followed by the Boston Blues salad, soft bibb lettuce with just the right amount of dressing.

                Our two entrees were both specials: The hangar steak was cooked a little more than the requested medium-rare, but this wasn't a problem with this cut of meat, which is rubbed with spices before grilling. I ordered the veal marsala special, not a complicated dish (I often make it at home with chicken), but rarely prepared properly. This preparation was spot-on. Both dishes were accompanied by thyme-infused mashed potatoes, the hangar steak came with absolutely the best broccolli rabe to be found in Greater New Haven, and my veal came with broccolli and a couple of tender asparagus spears.

                We also finished with the creme brulee dessert mentioned above, one of my all-time summer dessert favorites.

                One comment about the NYT review: As you might already know, MIckey is an Israeli, and he knows his baba ganoush. It's never burnt, but it does have a subtle smoky flavor that gives it its own special character. There are dozens of ways to prepare this app, his is, in my opinion, among the best of the bunch.

              2. w
                wtalamelli Jun 25, 2009 06:02 PM

                Mickey always puts out a great meal and NYT really sold him short

                1. linguist Aug 20, 2009 06:42 AM

                  Another voice in agreement with the positive reviews above. When my wife and I ate here recently, we liked almost everything: my "Rachel's Pollo" (chicken breast filled with spinach and feta, wrapped in prosciutto) was a good idea but spoiled by over-salty inferior prosciutto and not enough cheese. Otherwise, everything (the crabmeat/mango/avocado appetizer, the trio of middle eastern appetizers (in which the smoky eggplant was wonderful) and my wife's pasta, as well as dessert, was excellent. The wine list is very interesting, too (we had a nice Albariño that I didn't know but will look for again).

                  We sat outside, and had no complaints. The restaurant is set back enough from Dixwell for this to be quite pleasant, I think: most places in the NH area that have any outdoor tables are much closer to the road (think Caseus, for instance). The "no-smoking" end of the outdoor section where we sat is farther from the corner and may be more pleasant (as well as less crowded: most of the people outside seemed to be there in order to smoke).

                  We'll definitely go back if we're in the neighborhood.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: linguist
                    Scargod Aug 20, 2009 06:50 AM

                    We almost went back there last night, but went to Ibiza Tapas, in Hamden, for the second time. See my review.
                    I think there is a recurring theme of over-salted, if not over-seasoned food at Mickey's. At least it is unpredictable how a dish will be seasoned. If they are tasting and adjusting, as they should be, they should get someone else... Perhaps it is just one cook doing it, but Mickey should correct this! Wonder if it's Mickey? Does anyone remember salty/overseasoned food at one of his previous restaurants?

                  2. Scargod Sep 21, 2009 07:38 PM

                    Mickey's for dinner tonight. We sat outside and the traffic was pretty loud at times. Once a truck went by using his Jack brake. Illegal, I'm sure. Anyway, we ate alone outside and it was mostly very pleasant.
                    We had a good bottle of Chilean Cab with carpaccio (with a lot of arugula), for an appetizer. SO had spinach soup as an entree. It had tomato and lots of garlic in it and an egg cooked in the middle. It was good with the fresh artisan bread. Another nice touch was the crushed red pepper and grated Parmesan they brought to the table (as if we were having pizza).
                    I had the cheese and mushroom stuffed raviolis with a cream sauce and lots of sliced mushrooms. It was delicious. I thought the sliced garlic was undercooked and too crunchy, but that is a minor flaw, if you call it one.
                    The whole meal was very good without any off seasoning.

                    They were not very busy this Monday night. The service from Mellisa was very good. This trip everything was top-notch with hardly a complaint. $99 total, of which $36 was wine.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Scargod
                      Veggo Sep 21, 2009 08:36 PM

                      Darn, I liked everything you said except the price. I was raised in Hamden, and not many of us could do that. I'm more of a Glenwood guy...or Aunt Chiladas...otra vez..

                      1. re: Veggo
                        Scargod Sep 22, 2009 06:17 AM

                        It slipped my mind that we both had a 12YO Macallan so that was $20. The soup was $7, the carpaccio $10 and my ravioli special $21. The special was truffle filled ravioli.
                        We were celebrating. Just bought new BMW 5 series.

                    2. Scargod Nov 27, 2009 12:43 PM

                      I'd Give Mickey's a four, but they continually over-salt the food. I like food saltier than most and hardly ever complain about restaurant food being over-seasoned or over-salted. About half of the food is over-salted. Though everything else about mickey's is pretty good, with some creative dishes, this is starting to be very annoying.
                      I had the P.E.I. Mussels with Chorizo, Hot Peppers, Black Beans, Tomatoes, Cilantro
                      White Wine & Garlic with Grilled Ciabatta. It was delicious but started to wear on me with the saltiness. Same for the Ricotta Gnocchi with beef Bolognese and tomatoes, peas & carrots.
                      SO's spinach soup was good, but tasted almost bland compared to the other food.
                      Service was OK; they were a little slow at times. Most of my other previous comments still apply, but I would ask them to tone down the salt when you order...

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                      Mickey's Restaurant & Bar
                      2323 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06518

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