Thursday, May 7, 2009

Foodblogger Event: Max's Wine Dive

Max's Wine Dive: that's their slogan up there. Seriously, a slogan like that will always get me to try a place. They weren't messing around, literally an hour before we starting the tables we were standing around had not yet been assembled. We're the *first* people this kitchen staff has ever served. I'm a bit speechless as they treated us like foreign dignitaries. It's nice to feel special and they really went out of their way to explain what they were about and show the perfect sampling of food that really underscores what you can expect if you went to Max's. The wine steward was great at explaining the wine selections and why he thought they paired well with the foods on the tasting menu. I'm under no illusions that this is what they want, folks to talk about how great they are. Keep in mind all of these events run a risk, if it goes bad then folks will blog about a negative experience. Personally, I'm not a critic, I'd rather say nothing than to slam someone. That said, Max's was AWESOME. I can't wait to try out their full menu, I have been told the mac and cheese is to die for.

Everyone was so very friendly there. The owners came in from Houston to greet the event. Both Jerry and Jonathan were excellent hosts and explained (please correct me if I got the names wrong) the trials and tribulations of owning and starting restaurants, both very humble and fun loving folks. The open kitchen was fun to watch and will be a nice spectacle for patrons watching their food being prepared. The team seemed to be a well oiled machine despite being day one. Jerry explained that they hired the staff and had them work in the Houston restaurant for a month to get familiar, that still has to be very different than day one of your brand new restaurant and you're assembling racks for plates an hour before an event

Max's, as you can tell by their slogan is about normally comfort foods that are spun out with a touch of class. Where else can you get fried chicken and a nice classy artisan cheese plate. I actually didn't get a chance to try the cheeses, this one came out last and I was already stuffed from the other goods.





These are Max's Famous Fried chicken rolling drummet style. Listed description is, All natural steroid-free chicken with a jalapeno and buttermilk marinade, deep fried slow and low served with chipotle honey. That basically translates in to Yum. Amazing tender fried chicken I was curious about the slow frying as you usually want to fry at a high temperature to avoid greasiness. I'm happy to report the chicken was extremely tender and not at all greasy. The chipotle honey gave the chicken a smokey sweet taste and finish. Definite hit!

The next item was my *favorite* of the night, Buffalo Sliders. It's buffalo meat topped with house made pickles and caramelized onions and a bit of ketchup. This one took a few bites to eat, but it was enjoyable to the last. The bun was very soft, but the hit was the house made pickles, I bet I could sit and just eat a whole plate of them. I didn't detected an appreciable difference between buffalo and normal meat maybe the flavors of the pickle onion and ketchup covered it up for me. Then again the change may simply be that buffalo is suppose to be more lean than normal beef at least I don't have to feel too guilty on chomping down on these suckers.


These are the Nacho Mama's oysters. Grispy fried gulf oysters on aioli and fried wontons topped with a habanero salsa and cilantro. This like everything else was very delicious I braced myself for the habanero to kick in, unfortuneatly it never did. This of course makes sense not everyone likes that kind of heat. I was just hoping. The flavor of the aioli actually was the most pronouced and the oyster was very tender.



These are Berkshire pork baby back ribs with a hoisin glaze. Amazinginly tender, I'm talking fall off the bone tender. A nice rich sweetness from the hoisin glaze. Literally finger licking good (I still could have used some wipes) This was easily my second favorite if not first favorite.





Nice one bite spoon trick here. Grilled jumbo gulf shrimp with a bite of very tasty grits with another house pickle this time in the form of okra. It's a little hard to get this in in one bite and the flavor was just over in a flash. I kinda wished I had a knife and fork so I could have picked apart the flavors. It was a wonderful bite with an explosion of flavors and textures from the grits to the shrimp that finally get to a bit of the sour pickled okra.




For the bloggers they knew we'd want a nice plated picture so they were kind enough to provide us a monster plate with everything that we had that evening. You'd think that a celebrity had popped in, dozens of clicks and flashes were going off. Ultimately, I had to ask them to bring the plate over to a table by the window as natural lighting is always best for this type of stuff.

I had a fabulous time. Every sampling was delicious not a single one was a "eh ok" all of it was "awesome". I can't wait till they actually open so I can order one of everything. Thanks to the staff of Max's as well as the organizers and owners for having me over. I had a great time (if a little abbreviated) and I wish them the best of luck at the new location.

Ok I promise the next blog entry I do will be a bento. This next one will be an easy one. I've got a full weekend and it's been an extremely tough week all the way around.

9 comments:

Cara said...

I am allergic to chicken, but your description of the fried chicken made me want to suffer through the pain of the allergy. haha.

Ironjack said...

Oh it was *good*. I'm going back to get an actual big piece of chicken. I can't imagine chicken allergy that must be difficult.

thanks for dropping by!

cliffster said...

Fried chicken, now *that* I can relate to! I see a Fried Egg Sandwich on the menu too - I want to see how he fancies that up.

Ironjack said...

I also like how you can always add a fried egg to anything. Now they need the option to super super size and add bacon!

Cherbear said...

jack, this is cheryl (christine's friend). hope you're well! anyway, just wanted to comment b/c holy cow, they opened up a max's wine dive up there?!?? i love that place! well not so much the prices, but the food is quite tasty. stumbled upon your blog b/c i'm starting to get into the whole bento box thing. and i heard they opened up a FIT here in houston. that's supposed to have a lot of bento type stuff right? anyway take care, love the blog!

Ironjack said...

Hey Cheryl good to hear from you! Sorry about the delay on posting your comment.

Yeah max's was a blast, it was fun talking to the owners and getting to know what the place was all about.

I'm not familiar with FIT. What's that? You'll have to let me know. I've been meaning to do a day trip into houston to hit the lego store, this would just be another reason to go :)

neverfull said...

i was invited to the grand opening of the max's in austin but couldn't make it in from houston that day (not sure if this was the same event).

these are pretty smart guys - Jerry L & Jonathan H. the houston food bloggers attended a similar event in houston early this year when max's was working on their spring menu. it was quite successful although that chef is now gone & we are patiently waiting to see who will fill his shoes. they seem to have quite a bit of turnover in the kitchen at the max's in houston.

Ironjack said...

yeah I think the whole social media/blogger avenue is clever way to get the word out on a place. But you have to be careful as it has backfired for a restaurant here in Austin. Someone posted a scathing post on a badly run event. I won't name names :)

neverfull said...

oh, it backfired here in houston too. the restaurant recently closed too after only about 6-7 months. very sad.