This Place is Mad

Review: Mad Hatter

Last Monday, I met my brother Marcus for dinner at the Mad Hatter by Dupont Circle before he flew out to Utah for two days on a business trip of his own. The original plan was to head down to The Rhino in Georgetown on 33rd and M Streets and watch the Eagles game but Marcus needed more rest from the weekend’s NYE festivities (go figure, right?) having partied all night in Mt. Vernon Square. Therefore, he had asked to push going out to Monday night.

I asked him to call the place – we met up for dinner as our cousin Andrea had recommended this place to us.

We grabbed a table as we were having dinner, although the waiter certainly let us know about the specials for the evening. We’d landed just in time for happy hour specials – $3 domestic draft and craft ales, $3 mixed drinks, $4 house wine and 2 for 1 appetizers with the higher price prevailing.

Being dehydrated from running, I stayed away from the alcohol, but my brother had a whiskey ginger. Strangely enough, they charged him $2.75 instead of the $3 they mentioned. Odd. Living up to its name, they do start you off with a small cup of black tea though, which I very much needed coming in from the cold.

Tea served at the Mad Hatter. 3 January 2011.

The waiter, being jovial as he was went through the specials, for which my brother settled on the blackened scallops with risotto and wild mushrooms in a white wine sauce with broccoli ($15). As for me, in watching what I ate, as I train for my next half marathon, I went with the Mad Hatter Salad, fresh greens, feta cheese, walnuts, tomatoes over raspberry vinaigrette ($9).

But you better believe we took advantage of the appetizers, those things are pricey individually, but together, it was a good deal. We went for the crab taquitos and the calamari as our two appetizers ($13 and $10 respectively, but we were only responsible for the $13 given the special) and whilst not too impressed with the calamari – it was typical run of the mill, nothing special – the crab dip was pretty darn good.

Crab dip with nachos and fixings. 3 January 2011.

Marcus' real weakness: calamari. 3 January 2011.

My brother wolfed down – yes being the big guy he is – the risotto and the scallops. And this was the guy who vowed he’d watch what he ate in 2011, lose some weight and maybe – just maybe – run the MCM full with Adrian and me 30 October?

“Well damn,” he started, “I mean, January 3rd and I’m already faltering with my New Year’s Resolution? Who would have thought? And now how many days do I gotta spend on the road in the middle of nowhere with crappy food options?”

I sighed. I guess we should have stuck to WFM, Sweet Green or Chop’t, right?

As for me, I enjoyed my salad. There WAS raspberry vinaigrette in it, but not quite enough. Thankfully one of the restaurant managers had strolled on by and I had mentioned it to him.

“Yeah, that salad does look a little dry. I’ll get it right out for you.”

No questions asked.

Still we enjoyed the time together, as we both knew this was an occasion – directly seeing each other – that would be few and far between given our busy schedules. With grad school on the horizon for me, as well as a host of other life changes, I knew it wasn’t likely I’d see him for a bit even though we chat over the phone from time to time – and recently an increasing amount with the mounting family tension.

We noticed that the place started getting way more crowded – Dupont in general is a major hangout of many, and from what I hear, the place gets packed and converted to a club later hours of the night. But with Marcus having an early morning flight the next day and myself at work at 7:30am, no chance we could enjoy the nightlife.

Not on a Monday night at least.

I can definitely see us coming back here, maybe clubbing on the weekend? Why not.

Restaurant Info:
Mad Hatter | 1319 Connecticut Avenue NW | Washington DC 20036 | 202.833.1495 | http://www.madhatterdc.com

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