Sun-Thu, 9am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 9am-2am
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Like ChikaLicious and Room 4 Dessert, Max Brenner strives to be a dessert destination, and the minuscule café tables tend to be taken by groups of diet-be-damned girlfriends yapping away like overstimulated mynah birds, gurgling tots, and sheepish young couples on dates. Most evenings, there's a bottleneck at the hostess stand. Service, by the way, is friendly and well meaning, although the wait for food can be long. That wait means there's plenty of time to study the room, done up in the usual cocoa-themed color palette of browns, caramel, orange, and cream, and to read the suggestive writing on the walls: VERY MUCH CHOCOLATE. YUMMY … STOP IT MAX, THIS IS ALREADY TOO MUCH. That's a sentiment you can't argue with after flipping through the somewhat disorienting menu, filled as it is with descriptors like "popping candies," "chocolate licks," and "crunchy bits," and arranged into a dozen or so categories like "Max Iscream" (ice cream), Sweet Icons (fondues, soups, s'mores), and Desserts (cakes, meringues, truffles), many of them available grouped together on one plate like a BBQ combination platter.
The best way to order may be to resort to the same method some people use for finding a plumber in the Yellow Pages: Close your eyes, open up the book, and go with whatever your index finger happens to land on. If you're lucky, you'll end up with one of the fondues, like the Popsicle version—vanilla ice cream on a stick that comes on an embarrassing cartoon baby tray of sorts with little bowls of delicious melted chocolate, "crunchy chocolate waffle balls" that taste like Kit Kats, and the ever-popular "crunchy bits," which seem like crushed praline. You dip the ice-creamsicle into the chocolate and then roll it around in the crunchy things like a recalcitrant 5-year-old who plays with his food. If you're unlucky, you'll end up with the cloyingly sweet chocolate-topped and crunchy-bitted pizza, or, worse, the Melting Chocolate Heart Cake, which your server will recommend and dutifully describe to you as never having elicited anything but squeals of joy but is really just a not-so-molten chocolate cake—more dormant volcano than hot lava flow.Ideal Meal
Waffles with ice cream, chocolate sauce and "waffle balls," "Italian" hot chocolate.