The Mad Platter is the kind of restaurant I wish was in my neighborhood. It’s a cross between fine dining and neighborhood casual, located in Germantown. One might find this kind of restaurant in a city that has an old town historic section, with quiet dining tucked into alleys and side streets. There are white tablecloths, brick walls, subdued lighting and an unpretentious, inviting atmosphere. While wonderful, well cared for dinners were coming out of the kitchen, the place had a serene atmosphere that make me think the kitchen worked with intention and ease.
The greeting at the door is just as warm and inviting as the basket of rolls which was quickly brought to the table. There were only three servers and we hit the jackpot with (I think her name was Brenda) who seemed genuinely happy to work there.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a server who enjoys being a part of our night out, who cares about what we order, if we like it, and is willing to tell us what her favorites are. Even when the food is great (and it is here), friendly service makes the food taste better and brings easy forgiveness for any small mishaps. The only mishap of the whole night was a not so great glass of wine, which was immediately and graciously replaced by opening a fresh bottle.
This is my second time dining at the Mad Platter and I honestly don’t know why I’ve waited a couple of years to return. It could be because I don’t live close by, or because the Mad Platter has been around so long, it tends to slip off my radar in search for something new. My mistake. There is something charming about a tried and true, consistent place that cares about the details, is committed to a greener world and delivers fresh, local, good food for twenty years! Their website says “they are owner operated and chef driven” and this is reflected in the food.
The Mad Platter adjusts their menu daily to meet the season. Entrees range from $14 for Garden Linguini to $30 for Rack of Lamb. If you want to eat a five course meal at a reasonable price, for another $20, you can choose a soup, salad, appetizer, entree and dessert. This option is something they are know for, and the way to go because you get to enjoy the versatility of the kitchen’s talent, you get to sit and dine for a few hours, and you give the chef time to make an entree fresh from scratch.
Fresh canteloupe, with rum, coconut milk, garnished with just the right amount of finely chopped mint was just enough garnish to complement but not overwhelm.
I liked this so much that I made my own version based on their ingredients which will be posted next week.
Mr. ST ordered the shrimp and grits and was told it would take twenty five minutes. This was not a problem. We enjoyed the soup, and an heirloom tomato caprese salad. We opted out of the appetizer as it was going to be too much food for the heavier entrees we ordered, but I regret now not having at least tried the wild mushroom ravioli or grilled flatbread with peaches and goat cheese.
We both agreed that this was the best shrimp and grits we have ever eaten and I’m going to recommend that they never take it off the menu.
All descriptions that follow are taken right from the daily menu.
Farmer’s Market Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Thai Bsil, Balsamic, Peppered Olive Oil
We are picky when it comes to caprese salads. The tomato was ripe and sweet as promised. They used just the right amount of vinegar and seasonings. Can I use the word FRESH again? On a side note, we are growing heirloom tomatoes and basil in our garden, and we can hardly wait. This was the tease for what we can look forward to on a daily basis in a few weeks.
Shrimp and Grits $20
Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, smoked gouda grits, onion, celery, tomato, spinach, cream.
There was enough sausage to sing cajun flavors, just enough heat that didn’t linger to make each bite tasty, and surprisingly, a bit of crunchy celery that added a flavor that made me think that celery might be a very overlooked vegetable. Creamy, but not overly creamy and the grits were utter perfection. We didn’t leave one drop of sauce on the plate.
Rack of Lamb $30
Marinated and Grilled to Order, Potato Rosti, Ratatouille, Sauteed Onion, Butterstick & White Zucchini, Poblano Pepper, Tomato, Roasted Eggplant, Pomegranate Glaze.
The lamb was cooked perfectly, but what most impressed me about this dish was taking zucchini and making a spectacular arrangement of ratatouille. Not the mushy ordinary kind, but more of a medley, very bright, very fresh.
We didn’t really have room for dessert, but how could we resist? I almost ordered bananas foster, but who can pass up something called Chocolate Elvis, especially if it’s the signature dessert.
Chocolate Elvis, 6.50
Three luscious layers of rich chocolate ganache-Dark White & Milk, rest atop a crust of graham crackers.
I wrapped this up to bring home and ate it in the car, which tells you everything you need to know. At first I thought the graham crackers an odd pick, but it’s all good together.
This concoction of espresso & coffee liqueur-soaked Lady Fingers topped with sweetened whipped mascarpone cheese is the perfect end to your meal!
Not a drop left on Mr. ST’s plate. He orders tiramisu anytime it’s on the menu and he rates it the way I rate shrimp and grits. Some may think this is yesterday’s dessert, but they continue to serve it in Italy. It’s a timeless classic.
Five Course Dinner ranging from $34 to $50
If you consider the pricing of the entrees, you can enjoy an amazing five-course meal priced anywhere from $34 to $50. This puts the Mad Platter is that delightful category of every night dining to special occasion celebration. This is the perfect spot to go with friends and share bites of food from five different courses and sit a few hours and enjoy conversation. My kind of place. I’m not waiting another couple of years to return, especially if I can get the shrimp and grits again.