Hartford >Food & Dining > Max Downtown
185 Asylum St, Hartford, CT | Directions 0610341.766906 -72.676155
M-Th 11:30a-10:30p; F 11:30a-11:30p; Sa 5p-11:30p; Su 4:30p-11:30p
Best in Town – Hartford has several good resturants, but Max Downtown is the best. The food is always very good, and sometimes great, the service is solid, and the bar is outstanding (though piano night is really tacky). The strength of the menu is the beef and Max Downtown offers several excellant cuts which the kitchen is willing to prepare however you like (i.e. if you order rare, you get rare, not medium rare). The other entrees range in quality from pretty good to excellant. The family-style veggies are mostly excellant (the creamed spinach and sauted mushrooms being the best) and all of the salads are very good. The desert menu is another strength and it is always evolving, which is nice. Both the wine list and the cordial list are excellant and the prices are pretty reasonable. Front of house is also very strong, with several waiters and waitresses being as good as you will find outside a major city and the managers are all knowledgeable, on-point, and customer-oriented. It has exactly the right atmosphere for a business lunch or dinner, or for an important night out. Max also does functions very well (My wife and I were married there), with the kitchen able to turn out a high quantity of high quality food quickly and the front-of-house able to handle both the service and the "little things" that always seem to come up during big events. Prices are reasonable in light of quality, portion-size, service, etc.
Underwhelming experience – I think that it is really important to make note of the dates of a review. This is a restaurant which, in the past, has offered a wonderful experience but things have changed. Because of the high price we limit ourselves to going to Max Downtown on very special occasions. After trying other restaurants, which serve fillet mignon, we came to the conclusion that Max Downtown was the best. Their side order of mushrooms could not possibly be compared to anything we tried elsewhere and their crab cake appetizer was to die for. Fortunately, on our last visit a week ago, they had not raised their prices since we had visited last year. Unfortunately, the portion of their steak had been reduced to half size and the side order of mushrooms was about 1/3 the former amount. The good news is that the food still tasted great but we left the table still hungry. I have lived long enough to know that everything changes with time but had thought that since Max Downtown served an expensive meal that both the size and the quantity might remain the same but that was not to be, We are very disappointed but now will have to revert to one of our other choices of restaurants. We are fortunate to have a wide selection in the Hartford area.
High End – Max's is a good restaurant. The menu is rather pricey but the food is top of the line. A good "fancy" place to go on special occasions.
Good food; good wine list – When we entered, NOBODY came over to seat us (and I know the reason why :-)). There was a girl behind the counter who I think was supposed to, but didn't. Finally, a gentleman "notices us" and leads us to the seats. Nice. Then comes the menu. Nice. Tempting. Then the server - a nice chap - took a lot of time to explain the day's specials and our questions. Felt a bit relaxed after what we experienced at the door. Around $50-$60 for two. Did not feel it was overpriced at all.
All in all - a good experience.
Oh, by the way - before you enter the restaurant, please read the sign on the left - "Proper Attire Please".
Timmy Luciano – The simple fact is this. I didn't know how t pronounce "merlot", so the service staff basically laughed at me all night and made me feel very awful. I understand the restaurant is higher end, but i just wanted to go out for once and max's service was beyond terrible. It seemed the "bigwigs" dining got all attention, but maybe I'm just not "qualified" to spend money there!!!
Upscale elegance meets classic city club at this posh chophouse. – The Scene
Half-moon banquettes and dark-wood paneling add warmth and class to this upscale hot spot for Hartford's trendsetters. Giant modern paintings adorn the airy space and artisanal chandeliers hang from the high ceilings. A black-and-white clad waitstaff is knowledgeable and provides impeccable service.
Max's food looks like it was prepped for a glossy cooking magazine and tastes even better. The sumptuous lump crab cake appetizer pairs well with crunchy pepper slaw. Beef and potato pierogis with buttery seared foie gras are arranged like artwork. Fragrant, spicy tomato broth, smooth ricotta and fresh basil accent the pan-seared jumbo shrimp with fallen herb kerchiefs (noodles) entree. The bone-in filet mignon is cut thin and served like a chop. Desserts include the Chocolate Bomb, a luscious chocolate cake and mousse sculpture slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Fresh berries provide a refreshing contrast to creamy vanilla bean crème brulee.
a sleek downtown hangout – We were visiting from New York City and were pleasantly surprised by Max Downtown. Hip yet warm-n-cozy decor, interesting wine list and very well-executed, creative cuisine. Everything was fresh tasting and nicely presented. Service friendly and professional.
Snottiest place in town!! – Took my gf here for dinner valentines weekend... the 2 clowns at the front did not have our reservation. Managed to somehow get a table, but they did not offer us complimentary coat-checks like everyone else in the restaurant. Felt uncomfortable the minute we walked in, the atmosphere was extremely snobish. Plus, they sat us near the front where we were frezzing our a**es off. The food and service were good, but definitely never go back to this place ever. Lastly, for being one of the trendiest places in town.. saw some of the worst dressed people in the world!
Melt in your Mouth Good! – By far the best restaurant in the area....quality of food is the best, service is excellent - my husband is a chef and this is the only restaurant he is completely happy with!
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