Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Max's Wine Dive

The first time I went to Max's Wine Dive, I had high expectations. Good reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. However, I was underwhelmed. It was winter (January if I remember correctly), so I ordered off the seasonal menu: sweet potato gnocchi with spinach and winter vegetables (parsnips maybe? It's been a while). It sounded great, and I couldn't wait to eat it, but the dish was heavily sauced and the gnocchi was mushy and runny, even. Based on this experience, I completely wrote it off. But my husband on the other hand thought his dinner was fantastic, so he sneakily bought 3 groupons for Max's, obligating me to return.

His tactic worked, and we went back a few months later. This time, I ordered the veggie burger from the summer menu (the only vegetarian entree listed). When the burger came out, I was expecting the worst, but it was fantastic! It had great texture and was filling, spicy, and a little sweet. The burger is also incredibly large, and I surprised myself by eating the whole thing! It was just that good. In fact, I returned again just to eat the veggie burger (and use up another groupon).

On our fourth visit, I decided to try something else and ordered the snapper (from the summer menu again). Everything from the green beans to the potatoes to the slaw went well together. The beans and the slaw kept everything light and crisp. Yum! We also had the best service on this trip. Previously, the service was a little awkward (from green servers maybe?). This time around our server was knowledgeable about the wine and helped us make a dessert wine selection, which is not something we typically do, so the assistance was much needed, and the late-harvest malbec she suggested went wonderfully with the brownie. The brownie itself, however, was a let down. It wasn't bad, just boring.

Speaking of wine (this is a wine bar after all), the selection of bottles is comprehensive, but I prefer to order by the glass, since more often than not, everyone at the table is looking for something different. The by-the-glass list hits all the highlights, but isn't terribly varied. Fortunately though, they do have an enomatic with additional selections that are less static than the wines on the menu.

Overall, the place is hit or miss, even though most of my dining experiences have been positive, because I've been ordering off the seasonal menus. The "Classics" menu doesn't have anything for vegetarians (except tomato soup and grilled cheese and a few appetizers), so don't fall for their dressed-up comfort food gimick; the hits tend to be on the seasonal menu.

Max's Wine Dive on Urbanspoon

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