Max Brenner is awesome. AWESOME for all things chocolate. The food is alright. It’s regular, decent food. But then, that’s not what you go to Max Brenner’s for, right?
(between 13th and 14th Streets)
New York City
I was leaving for India, for good (or apparently so), and I wanted one last fabulous dinner in the city. Besides, G’s mum was visiting, like I mentioned earlier. And Max Brenner seemed like the perfect place to take her.
I think we make this mistake every time we’re there. We’re usually really hungry when we get there and order out a lot of food. Instead of ordering only very little for the meal, and saving up tummy space for dessert.
We started out with a spinach and artichoke dip, very fancifully called Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Fondue and served with ‘warm, chilly dusted tortilla chips.’ Sadly though, they were tortilla chips. Wouldn’t warm pita chips have been nicer? Or little bread balls served on sticks, true fondue style? Or just calling it a dip, then?
With that we got Molly’s White Corn Croquettes. Cheese balls, panko crumb coated and deep fried. Only 4 on a plate. That’s a bit of a rip off, if you ask me. For a table of 3. But who am I to comment, any more than that? They weren’t served with a dipping sauce either. Luckily, my main course came along and it WAS served with some sauce in a little cup, that I really found no use for, with my dish. So we used that for the dipping sauce for the little cheese balls.
G’s mum ordered a Veggie Conscious Burger. It had a vegetarian patty. And lettuce. And avocado. And tomato. And some cilantro mayonnaise. Served with waffle fries and a pickle. She said she liked it. I remember Z having ordered it one time I had visited Max Brenner with him. And he’d enjoyed it too.
G had a Grilled Chicken Panini – goat cheese, spinach, tomato, black olive pesto. A pickle on the side. And waffle fries. There’s something about the waffle fries at Max Brenners that make them really red, really crisp on the outside and really soft on the inside. I think it’s the same something that makes them atrociously heavy. It’s called grease. A half dozen fries, no more than two inches wide leaves me almost fry-sick.
My Rosen Deli Smoked Turkey Crèpe was decent. Pretty much like the chicken crèpe at Creperie. Sautéed mushrooms, melted swiss cheese, turkey. Served with fries and mixed greens. And that sauce I’ve already spoken about.
Five paragraphs about the food at Max Brenner and not a word about chocolate? No fair. Which brings us to dessert. The Melting Truffle Heart Cake and a Chocolate Surprise Tiramisu.
I LOVE the plating at Max. Especially the dessert. They do a good job with serving the food too. The sandwiches are usually set out on a rectangular, wooden plate. The appetizers come in fancy porcelain ware, with little holes to set out the sauces or the croutons or individual pieces of food.
Oooh. I remember having chicken wrapped in bacon here a couple of years ago. And served with tartar sauce. Boy! THAT was delicious. Or may be I just wasn’t a cooking enthusiast then.
Anyway, back to dessert. The Melting Truffle Heart Cake was served on a wooden cake stand. Add a plate to that. Place a cup cake sized dessert at the centre. A couple of strawberries. A sprinkle of powdered sugar. A
vial miniature round bottom flask (straight from a Chemistry laboratory) with chocolate sauce. A shot glass with some chocolate liquer topped with whipped cream. And a small cup of vanilla bourbon ice cream too. All that. One plate. Crazy! Intense. And the main dessert, a decadent chocolate cake. Cut into the heart, and there you are! Your choice of molten chocolate, golden caramel or raspberry pulp. We picked chocolate. So, that was a double chocolate (with a lot more chocolate on the side) treat right there!
The Chocolate Surprise Tiramisu, on the other hand, was served in a way that I might have never imagined. A porcelain sheet with engineering (checkered) paper printed on it and complete with the three holes to the left of the ‘page’ for punching. On it, sat a little glass jar, with a clasp lid thingy filled with the most scrumptious tiramisu any one could EVER have laid their eyes on. And very cutely, stick right out of the tiramisu, were 4 lady fingers, soaked in espresso. Not squishy soaked. Perfect soaked. On the side, was the usual cup full of mixed berries – raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Also a cup of cognac mascarpone cream and some chocolate sauce. I secretly wished that vial had been put on my plate though. Just for the back-to-school feel.
I paid $100 for dinner that night, everything inclusive, which isn’t all that bad when you think of it. There’s a lot I like about the place. The spice filled jars along one wall. The chocolate bar across from it. And then the bars of chocolate placed here and there. Hell, they’re slabs. 18 inches by 12 inches by 3 inches. They look just beautiful. *sigh* They also have a little store at the front, where you can buy chocolates, mugs, t-shirts, combinations of chocolates, recipe books. Ooooh! I have been tempted to buy that book on both times I have been there in the past year. One time when I was unemployed in June or July 2010. And this time, unemployed – with tonnes of savings to buy a fancy recipe book but no place in my suitcase. No place at all.
a complete meal for three
Max Brenner is DEFINITELY one place you should go to when you’re in New York City. And yeah, just skip the main course and stuff yourself on a couple of desserts. You won’t regret your decision (and my advice) one bit.