Friday, April 1, 2011

Boston Restaurant: Max Brenner

What: Max Brenner
Where: 745 Boylston St., Back Bay
Honey's Heart: The Fantastic Chocolate Popsicle Fondue

"So, are we doing dinner or dessert first?" our waiter asks Anna and me when he comes to take our order. Max Brenner, I have a feeling we're going to be friends...

Max Brenner (the restaurant) is an Israeli export that focuses on chocolate, though the menu also features a number of dinner items like salads, burgers and pizza in addition to the multiple dessert options.  

Yesterday was the restaurant's opening day, and while I know it's a gamble to visit a restaurant so early, Anna and I have been waiting forever for Max Brenner to finally open its doors. Also, we have a bitch of a class on Thursday nights, so we needed a special treat.

Because Anna and I are responsible adults (for the most part), we decided some "real food" was in order before we got to the good stuff.

We shared the The Brenner Burger ($13.95) which is topped with Max's secret barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and an onion ring and served with waffle fries dusted with chili and cocoa powder.

The burger was very rich what with the brioche bun, cheddar and onion ring, so half was plenty for both of us. I liked that they put barbecue sauce on the burger since that's what my dad always does when he barbeques burgers at home, but Max's is pretty generous with the sauce, so ask for it on the side if you're not a big fan.

I thought it might be strange for the fries to be dusted with cocoa powder, but the combination of chili powder and cocoa actually makes for a pleasant twist on the usual waffle fries.

Ok, onto the important part:

Max Brenner divides its "sweets" menu into a few different categories: Waffles & Crepes, Sweet Icons, Frappes, Classics with a Chocolate Twist, Fondue, and Max I Scream.

While I was tempted by the frappes (that's Boston-speak for milkshakes), I ultimately decided to go for The Fantastic Chocolate Popsicle Fondue ($7.95 for one, $13.95 for two).

The dessert comes with a vanilla popsicle (by Magnum!), pure melted milk chocolate fondue, crunchy chocolate wafer balls and candied hazelnut crunchy bits.

Such a great idea! I preferred the candied hazelnuts to the chocolate crunchies (I'm not that big of chocolate person), but overall I thought this was a really fun, really tasty dessert.

Max Brenner also offers a number of chocolate-y drinks including dessert martinis, hot chocolate, and coffee with chocolate. Anna loves sweet drinks, so she decided to try the Suckao ($4.95), a "Do It Yourself Concentrated Hot Chocolate Shot."

The idea here is that you add the chocolate to the heated milk in the cup (warmed by candle), determining for yourself how chocolate-y you want your shot to be. Then you suck it up using the silver spoon/straw. Maybe Anna and I took too long photographing our desserts, but when Anna added the chocolate to the milk, the whole thing just got clumpy as the milk was not warm enough to melt the chocolate. Anna said she probably wouldn't order this one again and I support that decision.

Of course, one chocolate shot is not enough for a sweet-lover like Anna, so she also tried the Apple Pie Cinnamon Waffles ($14.50) with white chocolate cream, vanilla flake crepe ice cream, and candied pecans.

The waffles were tasty, but a little sweet for my taste--one forkful was enough for me. Also, kind of random to throw those chocolate crispies in on the side, don't you think?

Max Brenner also has a little sweet shop in the front where you can buy souvenirs like the "Alice Cup"... well as 24 different kinds of bonbons.

Oh, and as far as service went, the waitstaff was obviously on their toes for opening night. We got asked a bajillon times if we wanted more water or if we were done with our plates. That got a little annoying, but I'll chalk that up to opening night exuberance. Our waiter also split our burger and put our desserts on two separate checks without asking us, which Anna and I liked at the time... but now that I think about it, what if I wanted to treat Anna? Could have made it awkward. 

Overall thought, Anna and I agreed that we'll definitely need to come back again with Shannon and Erica so we can try more of Max's sweets. I can already hear the Euphoria Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Sundae calling my name...