Max Brenner – New York, NY

Chocolate New York City

Israeli chocolatier Oded Brenner founded Max Brenner with Max Fichtman.

Max Brenner is a great place in New York City to meet up with your friends and/or your family for a cozy cup of cocoa and dessert. I visited the restaurant near the holidays and it was jammed packed, buzzing with excitement, so we expected a wait. You can peruse the chocolate gift store near the entrance where a ‘persuasive’ employee supplied us with samples of yummy chocolate bits. We ordered brunch that afternoon, but I recommend passing the savory food and skip right to the sweets menu which is much longer anyhow. My sister and I shared a bowl of onion soup (soup of the day), which was just okay and a smoked turkey sandwich (melted provolone, smoked turkey, pesto, romaine, and roasted red peppers). My best friend ordered a Mexican omelet that was almost larger than her head! It was served with homefries and a basket of country toast with butter and melted chocolate spread. The brunch menu is very similar to the chain restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory – decent, oversized dishes, but rarely interesting or unique. I wish there had been some chocolate incorporated into the savory menu. With brunch we ordered mugs of cocoa (for about $5 a piece). I ordered the Toffee Chocolate, which was very sweet and delicious on a cold day. It came topped with milk foam in a design, similar to the now popular ‘latte art’ you see at specialty coffee shops. My sister ordered an Italian style thick milk chocolate cocoa. It was tasty, but as she can attest to from her study abroad in Florence, not as good as the real thing. My best friend ordered a Choco Pops cocoa, her favorite, with crunchy wafer balls, which you can also purchase in the shop. The cocoas came in ‘hug mugs’ which are tear shaped and designed to be hugged with both hands – make sure you let the ceramic cool down before you dig in. For dessert we ordered, upon our waitress’ suggestion, a Melting Marshmallow crepe (chocolate and marshmallow stuffed inside and white chocolate chips on top) which she said would be enough for the three of us to split since we only had room for one dessert. The crepe came with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, gummy bears, and chocolate sauce. I’m not sure the significance of the gummy bears (a nod to a childhood favorite?) but there were unnecessary with this kind of dessert. I’d have traded it for another scoop of ice cream or a larger crepe. The dessert menu is overloaded with chocolate desserts and I wish we had more room to sample some others. I suggest visiting this restaurant post dinner (since their savory menu is pretty uninspired and bland) for a hot cocoa and desserts to split amongst a large group.

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