Max’s Grille celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, and judging by the continual crowds and always-bustling patio, it’s a much-loved destination for young and old, locals and travelers. While they call themselves a “contemporary American restaurant,” it’s more like an old neighborhood pub– comfy and always friendly.
First Impressions: As one of two of the original occupants at Mizner Park in Boca Raton — and the only initial restaurant– Max’s Grille has many different mouths to feed and Max’s Grille provides a menu with something for everyone. A few of those products may have once been cutting edge, so look to daily specials for fresh ideas. Atmosphere & Ambiance: After 20 long years, it still looks great– clubby and comfortable– and definitely not overly decorated. But among the dining rooms one room was unpleasantly warm. For Starters: One of the very best bread baskets around comes fulled of seeded flatbread and hummus. You might begin with Max’s signature chopped salad ($9.50), which seemed a bit underdressed. Heirloom tomato short stack ($14) is stacked with not-so-creamy house made mozzarella sprinkled with balsamic. The tomatoes were not quite at their peak. Pigs in a blanket ($5) consists of a nitrate-free, mini beef honest covered in puff pastry and served with mustard and sauerkraut. It tasted like something from a 1970s mixer.
Crunchy calamari and zucchini ($10.50) was pleasantly crunchy. However one of the very best things I tasted was a special salad made with arugula, watermelon and feta cheese ($10). Completely dressed, and all of the elements were included in perfect proportion. Another standout was the mussels ($13) in a not-quite-spicy tomato-based broth. Delicious Entrees : Maple ginger glazed Scottish salmon ($25) with Asian vegetables and jasmine rice let all the active ingredients shine perfectly. Everyday Gravy ($19) combines rigatoni with a meatball, sausage and pork shoulder in a rich tomato sauce. Applewood bacon wrapped meatloaf ($18) was an oily mess on the plate with potatoes and spinach swimming in drippings. I would not suggest this dish to even the most dedicated predator. Awesome!: While I’m not a fan of creme brulee, I enjoy Max’s creme brulee cakes ($10). It’s rich and velvety with a layer of berries embedded in the center. Secret lime pie ($8) with classic graham cracker crust is also remarkable.
When it comes to the peanut butter and chocolate pie ($8), I’m guessing that kids adore it. Great Service: Max’s Grille’s service is has always been reliable. Even when it falls apart, the personnel preserves a friendly behavior. From the Vineyard: Very excellent list of half rate wine by the bottle. Unfortunately, two of the bottles we picked were unavailable. We picked a third.