Savory surprises

Max Brenner introduces savory dishes alongside its trademark sweets.

By BUZZY GORDON
October 31, 2018 19:51
3 minute read.
Savory surprises

MAX BRENNER’S dinner menu, with a dedicated version in English, comprises four sections: Fresh Salads, Max’s Kitchen, Waffle Toasts (three in this category) and Breakfast for Dinner, which is served all day.. (photo credit: PINKME)

 
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While the name Max Brenner is most closely associated with chocolate, the eponymous restaurant chain has been serving a diverse menu encompassing three meals a day for years. Recently, the restaurants introduced a menu that represents a fairly comprehensive overhaul of the previous one, while retaining the separate dessert menu which has contributed so much to the chain’s popularity over the years.

We checked out the new dinner menu at the Max Brenner restaurant in the Ramat Hahayal commercial neighborhood of north Tel Aviv, a spacious venue whose interior decor evokes the look of a chocolate factory. Noteworthy is a large private room with a giant TV screen, ideal for lunchtime business meetings or, given the extravagant desserts, family celebrations and birthdays.

The restaurant serves no traditional cocktails, except for sweet ones more appropriate for dessert, and offers a very limited selection of wine and beer. The sweet cocktails – both hot and cold – are available in virgin (nonalcoholic) modes as well.

The revised food menu, with a dedicated version in English, comprises four sections: Fresh Salads, Max’s Kitchen, Waffle Toasts (three in this category) and Breakfast for Dinner, which is served all day. There is a separate afternoon menu with the title Business and Pleasure lunch, but it serves substantially the same entrées as the evening menu.

As we waited for our warm main courses, we started with one of the Fresh Salads (NIS 56-62), all of them clearly large enough to share. Our waitress recommended the waffle toast salad, whose distinctive characteristic is miniature waffle sandwiches of Gouda cheese instead of croutons. While they were a nice touch, the salad itself – very lightly dressed with Caesar dressing – was unremarkable.

The most prominent section of the menu is Max’s Kitchen (NIS 54-69), containing savory waffles, pastas, and chicken and meat dishes. There are several vegan options in this and the salad categories.

Two of the signature new savory dishes are the intriguing hot yam waffles topped with creative combinations. The yam waffle combo we chose features a mound of sautéed mushrooms and onions, chestnuts and silky feta cream cheese – an inspired blend that transformed the imaginative, colorful waffle base into something truly delicious.

Our second savory dish was the boneless chicken breast in Cajun spices, seasonings that are not frequently encountered in Israel. The reddish seasoning rub was not as spicy as blackened chicken would be, but it still managed to infuse the poultry with complex and satisfying flavor.

The chicken was accompanied by a generous serving of bulgur and lentil salad, which looked more appetizing than it tasted.
We washed this good food down with glasses of the house red and white wines, a Cabernet-Merlot blend and a Riesling.

Unlike at most restaurants, the dessert menu at Max Brenner is more extensive than the dinner menu – an entire booklet, in fact. There is a full page of vegan desserts, plus gluten-free options, and others designated as intended for sharing – although experience shows that virtually all the regular-sized desserts are large enough for two people to share, so those described as being meant for sharing are probably big enough for four.

In consultation with our waitress, we finally settled on one each from the cake page and the ice-cream page. Our selection from the former was the Munchi (NIS 49), a cake base topped with layers of crunchy almond, peanut butter, toffee and dark chocolate ganache, all coated with a milk chocolate shell. As if that were not enough, it was served with milk chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Our ice-cream extravaganza was the Turin (NIS 52) – milk chocolate ice cream in a hot chocolate truffle, alongside crunchy chocolate wafer balls, almond mix, and fudge chocolate brownie cubes topped with whipped cream and pralines.

Both desserts were as outrageously decadent as they sound – and more than we could finish in one sitting.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Max Brenner
Not kosher
23 Habarzel Street, Tel Aviv
Tel. (03) 644-2500

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