Sun-Mon, 11:30am-10pm; Tue-Sat, 11:30am-11pm
1, 2, 3 at Chambers St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Battery Pl. to Broome St., Centre St. to West Side Hwy.
The craggy, two-dimensional map of Southern Italy—of which Calabria and Basilicata are the focus—hangs at eye level in the foyer of the Tribeca outpost of Max. The menu at this unfussy Italian spot centers on those regions, only occasionally straying northward to Tuscany and other regions, with touches such as truffle oil on the seared cod or bubbly aperitifs such as Prosecco-based Bellinis. Make no mistake: Max is Southern Italian and proud of it. You can see it on the wine list, with offerings like Aglianico, a delicious, dark 'n' stormy tempest of a wine from Basilicata and neighboring Campania, as well as in the tender, mildly garlicky meatballs, whose sauce brightens noticeably if you sprinkle a little peperoncini into it (it comes on the side). Max is good at doing a lot with a little, whether it’s this kind of flavorful attention to detail or the way it manages to make the tiny, two-level space feel cozy but not cramped with its mix of spare urban details, such as hanging lightbulbs and bare brick combined with tiny corner shelves of nona-like knickknacks.Recommended Dishes
pan-seared cod fish, $119; fettucini with meat sauce, $14; rigatoni with eggplant, $14