Happy Hour at Max's Wine Dive

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Where did June go? Are we already 1/3 of the way through summer?

#DeepQuestions, by Kim Ogonosky.

I don't know about you guys, but life has been so busy lately! Last weekend Jon and I finally had an evening where we cooked dinner (aka, bought pre-made meals from Whole Foods) and stayed in for the evening (aka, watched the original Jurassic Park since we have been obsessing over the new one lately). And I was like, dude I know I've seen you recently, but this is the first do-nothing night we've had in forever!

Despite the packed schedule, I've managed to squeeze in some quality friend time, like recently when I met up with my friend Kelly at Max's Wine Dive, who I literally hadn't seen in TWELVE YEARS. <~~Nothing makes you feel old like that statement, #ThisIsThirty.

I had been wanting to try Max's on Washington since it opened, so this visit was long overdue. Kelly was awesome enough to make the trek out from Northeast Houston to meet me. She ecstatically recommended their signature dish, the fried chicken, which I was all, "Oops, btw I'm a vegetarian now? Let's do our best not to wait another 12 years to see each other again? Pinky promise?" Fortunately there still seemed to be plenty of items for me to choose from, and hello discounted Happy Hour prosecco.

I'm going to get this first one out of the way here. I ordered a side of the collard greens, and...I couldn't eat them. If you're familiar with my blog, you'll know that not being able to eat a dish is a completely rare situation for me. I'm no collard greens expert, but these tasted like they came right out of a can. You know how canned spinach tastes? Imagine that, but with collard greens, and that's what these were. Slimy, incredibly salty, and...canned-tasting. Unfortunately I have nothing good to say about this side. I'm hoping it was a fluke.

I also ordered the Max 'n cheese. A cavatappi pasta in a truffle cream sauce with provolone, Gruyère and Parmigiano Reggiano seemed like a good choice to me, but it didn't blow me away. The high points of this dish were the cavatappi pasta, which was a fun departure from your standard elbow mac, penne, or shells, as well as the super creamy sauce, and subtle dusting of crunchy breadcrumbs on top. But even though the dish was composed of a beautiful duo of cheeses and truffle cream sauce, it was pretty bland (a stark contrast from the strident collard greens). There is a fine dance that chefs play when it comes to the use of truffle in dishes, I totally get it - A dash too much can absolutely ruin something. But with this dish I couldn't even tell it was there. I missed my beloved truffle that evening.

Fortunately, there was a saving grace from the barely edible collard greens and unexciting Max 'n cheese.

The fried green tomatoes.

Lordy, these were good! The breading was so light, and it had an almost wafer-like crunch. The sauce underneath the juicy green tomatoes eased their acidity and offered a nice, delightful punch to the taste. THIS dish makes Max's Wine Dive live up to it's reputation of having classy, fun, southern-inspired fare. These might be my favorite fried green tomatoes ever. I gobbled them right up!

While I experienced a mixed bag with the food I ordered, it is worth noting that Kelly did once again love her fried chicken, as I have often heard from others. It seems that Max's needs to make some adjustments to its supporting role dishes to offer up more consistency. The overall environment of Max's is certainly welcoming - trendy, vibrant, and cozy, the place was packed that night. The service was also great, and the setting was really nice for reconnecting with a sweet friend from a million years ago. If you go I recommend you make a reservation, plan on using valet (as there was no other option that night), bypass the collard greens, and order the fried green tomatoes.

And, um, wine of course.

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  1. They also have super nice patrons who spot you cash for the valet right? ;)

    1. Oh absolutely! Shout out to that awesome lady. :)


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