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Restaurants / Openings

River Oaks’ Hottest New Restaurant Requires a Six-Week Wait — MAD’s Reservation Mania

Getting Into This Spanish Stunner Will Take Patience

BY // 07.01.19
photography Shafik I. Rifaat

It seems the entire town is mad for MAD, the killer new entry into River Oaks District’s vaunted restaurant realm. Without truly serious connections, if you don’t already have a reservation at the Lázaro Rosa-Violán designed eatery, you’ll have to wait six weeks before getting even a glimpse of the much ballyhooed interiors.

Forget about hanging out at the bar for a look-see. You need a reservation for that too.

So wildly popular is Ignacio Torras’ and chef Luis Roger’s second restaurant (following the acclaimed BCN), it seems that the entire city is clamoring for a table. If you nab that reservation, you might want to choose your table with an eye for your taste in tableaus.

Every seat is a hotspot, but the views vary from location to location. None disappoint. A Picasso devotee, for example, might want a table in front of the wall of Picasso ceramic plates. Or a Chihuly fan might position in front of the open kitchen where one of the master’s two MAD chandeliers playfully hangs above the open fire.

Unless seeking a somewhat discreet table, we wouldn’t choose the patio for dining on duck tongue tacos and MAD’s wicked tomato concoction. No, we prefer to savor our paella amid the riot of avant-garde decor that has everyone who was lucky enough to have garnered a reservation swooning.

While there is seating on all sides of the bar, we opt for the high-profile section of bright orange sofas, plumped with decorative pillows, next to the bar or one of the tufted blue banquettes along the far wall, where velvet curtains can close for those seeking privacy. Both locations present front row seats to the vibrant scene that resonates with a sophisticated international vibe.

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As Rosa-Violán told PaperCity, “I want to create an experience. We created a lot of different scenes.”

But the bar scene? There isn’t one. Not like the three-deep crush you can find on occasion at Brasserie-19 or the Thursday night over-the-top bar scene at Steak 48. Reservations are required for the bar at MAD and you are expected to order from the menu, perhaps the Iberico ham and the scallop crudo plates to go with your Ma Vie en Rose cocktail.

With reservations a must, every seat in the house offers a totally civilized experience.

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