De-stress with dessert
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 22:03
From the scrawled, “Stressed is desserts spelled backwards…come in & de-stress,” on the chalkboard sign outside, to the immediate waft of chocolate upon entrance, Max Brenner has a commitment to all things cocoa. It is easy to write off a restaurant so committed to dessert, as their more savory components could not hope to stand up. Max Brenner is an exception, however—their dishes coming tantalizingly plated and leaving licked clean.
On a weekend night when Boston College students finally have the time to venture into the city, it is easy to hop off the Green Line at the Hynes Convention Center stop and enjoy the beauty that is Newbury Street. With shopping and dinner in one place set off by perfectly-New-England brick buildings and trees twinkling with lights, the city staple is a comforting and familiar go-to. Just one stop further, however, Copley has quirkier places to offer the curious eater.
Max Brenner is more than just a restaurant. It is a “chocolate culture.” Thanks to a desire for decadence, lessons handed down by a Parisian chef, and the inspiration brought on by fine wine, the global Max Brenner line was born. Dim lighting sets the tone, while a perfectly crafted playlist with songs like “Yesterday” by The Beatles and “Buttercup” by The Temptations fills the room at a volume that stops just before being too loud. A massive sketch of The Bald Man himself, Max Brenner, towers over diners. Sauces and salad dressings come in miniature beakers. Down to the checks, which arrive tucked into nostalgic tin boxes, the restaurant is committed to a trendy experience.
The menus are true to this form. With creative twists on expected options, Max Brenner takes culinary risks that definitely pay off. For ooey-gooey mac lovers, sifting through the countless variations at restaurants can be futile, as the hope that comes from any mouth-watering description is rarely met by the actually uninteresting versions. The “Really Cheesy-Really Crunchy Mac & Cheese” at Max Brenner, however, elevates the traditional comfort food. Served in a personal-sized brassier pan, this dish melds perfectly crunchy breadcrumbs and unbelievably creamy noodles for a dish that brings wandering forks from across the table.
For diners who tend to Emilie de Ravin’s view in Remember Me and cannot bear to wait for dessert in case of disaster, the “First Food Then Chocolate” menu offers items that push the boundaries of savory and sweet. A goat cheese and chicken salad atop a savory corn waffle is the star of this menu, plated tableside by removing a silver ring mold to release the tossed greens.
Though the entrees do keep up, even the colors of the restaurant mimic the chocolates they offer, indicating that dessert is indeed the main feature. The various fondue plates come with a variety of dipping choices, from a newspaper cone—reminiscent of an English fish-and-chips—brimming with tempura-fried bananas to homemade rice crispy bars. Italian White Hot Chocolate comes steaming in tall glasses with whipped cream frothing at the top. Even ignoring the service, which tends to err on the side of abrasive, this restaurant will leave no sweet tooth unsatisfied.
A sweets shop is even tucked away in the left hand corner, bringing images of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another one of Brenner’s inspirations. Although the restaurant is host to perfectly packaged boxes, glass cases full of various printed truffles, and even a candy man handing samples out that one can almost taste the sunshine sprinkled in, no golden ticket is required.