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Mar 22, 2007 08:45 PM

Mickey's in Hamden, CT

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.

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

      1. 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

          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

            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.
            I ate there, long ago, when it was ?. Can't remember the name, but remember it was not very good.

            1. re: Scargod

              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

                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

                  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

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

                1. re: rbailin

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

                  1. re: bagelman01

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

          2. 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

              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

                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. 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

                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.