Monday, June 6, 2011

A lunch break at Max Brenner in the Back Bay

This Saturday Nick and I decided to take advantage of the summer weather and get some errands done to boot, so we headed out to the Back Bay for shopping along Newbury Street, working our way over to the Prudential.  By the time we hit Boylston Street I was more than a little thirsty and hungry.  Having read about Max Brenner and seeing that the place was always packed I took the opportunity of a slower afternoon to see what all the fuss was really about. 

We walked straight in and grabbed some open seats at the bar.  Once I sat down I was struck by all the chocolate decor throughout the restaurant.  It is a bit like a more laboratory version of Willy Wonka.  There are pipes carrying the various types of chocolate to the bar and other locations, and large flasks lining the wall filled with bits of chocolate.  There is even a candy store in the front.  While entertaining for the first moments, it really felt like a Disney ride to me.

There is an impressive milkshake and cocktail list to enjoy.  Not having had a true milkshake in years I felt like this was a good time to indulge.  I went with the Mocha Frappe with milk chocolate truffle and an espresso shot.  Nick went a different route and got the banana split latte with milk chocolate and fresh bananas.

These were delicious - with each you could taste all the different flavors making up the combinations.  Nothing overpowered the other components.  The chocolate in both tasted so fresh, adding another layers of yumminess to the drink.  I will concede that the Alice and Wonderland theme ceramic drinking glass and the metal straw added to the fun here.

Almost every item of the menu has chocolate incorporated into the food - some much stranger than others, like chocolate pizza.  Having filled up on the shake, I got an order of black and tan onion rings that came with a chocolate ranch dipping sauce.

Onion Rings
The onion rings were good, but nothing too special, though I thought that was going to change with the ranch.  However, it was a bit of a let down.  Being a chocolate place, I thought when you are going to add it to so many things on the menu you would really get to experience something new and amazing.  Instead, I got a really strong cucumber flavor and no chocolate - it really did nothing to add to my onion rings.

Nick took my normal order and went with the Brenner Burger, which is topped with BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, Cheddar and a vidalia onion ring. The fries were actually waffle fries seasoned with cocoa and chili powder.
The Burger
Nick asked for the burger medium rare and it definitely came out more on the medium well side.  The toppings were fresh and good, but really it was hard to support the burger itself which did not have more flavor or seasoning to it.  I was really excited to try the fries, however, like my sauce, there was really no flavor to the seasoning - hard to believe since one was chili powder.  I just could not taste anything special, and with those flavors I was expecting a lot more.

Neither of us were really hungry for dessert, which I bet would have been a step up from the entrees given the shakes.  I would only recommend stopping by for a shake or maybe a dessert (have to test to confirm).  The main meals just really lacked the taste and flavors you would were promised by such an atmosphere and menu.

Max Brenner on Urbanspoon


  1. I'd tend to agree with your thoughts! I lovedddd my milkshake and would go back for that in a heartbeat. I felt their brunch was overpriced and nothing special ($14 for a lackluster omelette, blah!)

  2. That's upsetting. I've been dying to try this place being the chocolate fiend that I am. Sounds like it's best to go for a milkshake!


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