Portions, Not Flavor...to the Max

Since I'm not a red meat eater, I'm not one to frequent steak houses all that often (although I do love the side orders there). My roommate and I were going out for a joint birthday dinner, and she suggested Maxie's. I first thought, oh, Angelo & Maxie's...the steakhouse? Not my ideal pick. But, then I remember hearing that they opened a more casual restaurant behind it.

We met around 7:30, and while the bar area was packed with people having drinks and appetizers after work, the restaurant itself was pretty empty. As I scanned the menu, a handful of items caught my eye…some entrees, some sides. We decided that we were going to go all out and celebrate our birthdays in style with a ton of food….the only way to do it right!

We started with an order of Southern fried pickles and mac & cheese. I know to some of you, the thought of fried going with pickles may sound disgusting, but take my word for it – they’re delicious. I’ve had them at a few Southern/BBQ places around the city, and while Maxie’s version wasn’t my favorite (that title goes to Brother Jimmy’s version), they were still really good. They had a flavorful batter and were served with a tasty chipotle dipping sauce. The mac & cheese was just ok. It had a lot of cheese, especially the layer that was browned on the top that I love, but it needed either more salt or more flavorful cheeses. A little too bland for my liking.

I was feeling pretty full by this point, but I had already ordered my main dish…the Mediterranean Style Vegetable Burger. So, there was no turning back now. The menu said it came with a goat cheese sauce, so it seemed like an interesting twist on a veggie burger. Well, unfortunately, “interesting” is not how I’d describe this one. The burger itself was tasteless, brown mush and the sauce was so heavily seasoned with dill, it overpowered any hint of goat cheese. I picked at the “burger” for a few minutes, but then just gave up. The only saving grace to this dish were the shoestring fries that came with it. It was a heaping mound of crispy fries sprinkled with season salt (a fav of mine).

My roommate ordered the Maxie’s Chef Salad, which came with chicken, steak, and shrimp. Seems like a good pick for an indecisive diner! But, when the salad arrived, it looked like they forgot to finish preparing it. Large pieces of the meats and huge blocks of cheese covered the bowl. I guess they want to make you work for your food in order to enjoy it. It also had nothing else in it but lettuce, so if nothing else, it seems like the perfect dish for someone on the Atkins Diet.

So, Miss Menu has mixed review for Maxie’s, but I definitely think that had we ordered differently, we would have had a much better experience. At least the fries and fried pickles were good! The portions were all very large, so you definitely get your money's worth. Overall, it is a pretty interesting menu, different from your normal bar & grill. They have things like Kobe beef hot dogs and a Mexican burger served in a tortilla. Maxie’s would be a great place for a beer and a burger after work (or maybe during work! I won’t tell your boss.) in a restaurant that feels like a grown-up version of a typical bar, both in atmosphere and food.

Maxie's Bar & Grill
233 Park Avenue South
@ 19th Street
Menu Pages listing


Anonymous said…
i recently went to maxie's for the first time with the bf. we enjoyed our meal. i don't eat red meat often but i splurged and had a burger. mine was fresh and juicy. the goat cheese was yummy and i had a decent serving of mushrooms. the sweet potato fries were yummy. they were crispy outside, soft inside and not oily. i wouldn't say it is the most amazing burger joint but i would definitely go back. i was sad to read about the veggie burger. i like the atmosphere of maxie's. i feel like it is a hit or miss spot but hopefully they will produce more hits in the future.
Anonymous said…
Glad you enjoyed your meal so much, especially those sweet potato fries! I completely agree...I think it's a hit or miss spot too, so I won't throw in the towel on Maxie's just yet. Hopefully it'll be better next time. Let me know if you go back soon!