Houston >Food & Dining > Brasserie Max & Julie
4315 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, TX | Directions 7700629.733921 -95.390939
Monday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Central, Neartown/ Montrose
Bone marrow never tasted better – When I think of French cuisine in Houston, two types come to mind: French cooked by Mexican/Latin american cooks in the back, or French made to suit the Houstonian palate (over-the-top flavor with too much sauce). A Francophile at heart, I have been searching for a place to satisfy my French food cravings while transporting me to the land of crepe suzette, cafe au lait, and canard a l'orange.
Of all the places I've visited in Houston, Brasserie Max & Julie is the closest I've found to authentic French cuisine. The decor and lighting has a decidedly French sensibility and the menu closely resembles one I perused on my last visit to Paris. A large one-page laminated affair, the menu offers an array of classic French dishes such as oven roasted bone marrow, home made pate, steak frites, and much more.
We started with the "tete de veau", an off the menu house made specialty similar to a head cheese. The bone marrow was the highlight for me (and seemed to be a favorite among other French-speaking patrons), a richly decadent yet simple dish that can be classified as nothing but tres francais. While the overall menu was a bit pricey for everyday dining, Brasserie Max & Julie is definitely a place to go when you are craving that trip to Paris but can't afford one. When we were there, more than 50% of the tables were native French speakers and many of the staff spoke French as well, so not only will you enjoy the French ambiance and cuisine, but you can enjoy the hearing that melodic romance language all around you as well!
Authentic French Brasserie in the Heart of Houston – The restaurant opened in 2007 has become a sophisticated little place with fantastic food. Upon entering Brasserie Max & Julie (owned by neither Max or Julie but by Chris and Laurence Paul who also own Cafe Rabelais in Rice Village) I am struck I by the comfortable, authentic, intimate atmosphere which allows one to believe for a moment that they are not in the middle of Houston, but instead in a brasserie located within a French village.
The interior of rich scarlet fabrics and bright gold railings enhances the illusion. The menu is creative offering seasonal country French dishes, such as savory pot-au-feu, white duck cassoulet and steak au poivre are both satisfying and authentic while the service is always competent and friendly.
LOUD AND HOT – We love French cuisine so decided to try this place. Bad idea!! First of all, it was soo hot, upstairs and down, we might as well have been outside in the Houston August heat. The noise level, for those of us over 30, was unbearable - could not maintain a conversation without literally yelling to the person next to you. Our table was so close to the next one that to get by the waiters had to push people at both tables out of the way. Everyone at the table was sweating so profusely that no one wanted to stay for dessert. And after all that, the food was pretty mediocre.
LOWERING STANDARDS – New menu offered less original French cuisine and more modified tex-mex. Selection of wine is down the toilette from what it was a year and half ago. The place can be loud and only maintained the facade of being "european". The only thing that increased is the final bill, which would have been okay if it had the intimate feel of fine dining. Go houston prentention!!!!
A disappointment – It was our first time at Brasserie Max et Julie. The reviews seemed good and we were looking forward to a great evening and a great meal... what a disappointment!
The service: I don't need 3 to 4 different people serving me (there was one person at least for (1) the water, (2) the bread, (3) the meal, etc...). So although our main waitress was nice, it felt too busy and it was a bit annoying.
The food: First of all their online menu is outdated. The 2 potential entrees my wife was looking forward to were not available anymore.
Then among the choices left available to us, we asked for an entree without alcohol (even though it is cooked off during the preparation that is something we didn't want to have). We asked among the duck, the chicken, the skate wings and few other items that sounded reasonably good, the ones without alcohol. Well, everything used alcohol for some reason and the chef didn't seem to be able to slightly adapt his cooking to satisfy our demand. The disappointment came mostly from the lack of flexibility in the chef's cooking. I know that it was not a hard task to skip the alcohol and I also know that the recipe for the skate wing at least originally doesn't require alcohol since I cooked it myself several times in the past.
So my wife had to order a grilled salmon which was ok but definitely no better than what the average bbq person can do during a sunday afternoon.
I myself had the steak tartare. I hate dozens of steaks tartare in the past, this was the first time I didn't finish my plate. First the seasoning was way off but the main problem is that the meat itself had a weird texture. I don't think the meat was not fresh but maybe the cut was of poor quality who knows? We also had the pate for appetizer and it was rather bland.
Of course, we didn't stay for desserts. Maybe it would have made up for the rest of the meal but we will never know.
I admit that we haven't tried the full menu so maybe just these entrees, or this day, were bad. So maybe your experience is going to be a better one, and I really hope it is. All I know is that I will not go back to Max et Julie.
And another note, the valet parking is a joke. They use the emptied Chase parking next door and they make sure you cannot park yourself. So you have to leave your car to someone who will park it 2 yards away from the restaurant's entrance. Some people might not like walking but this is really sad at this point.
Ahhhhh...Paris... – Going here is like stepping into Paris. The decor looks like someone dismantled a brasserie in France and reassembled it here. Despite how beautiful it looks, it's comfy.
Some reviews have mentioned that this place is a bit formal...maybe because we're usually here for brunch/breakfast, but we feel pretty comfortable in jeans and flip flops. The prices are also extremely reasonable for what you're getting (local, organic, good food with an awesome ambiance).
The crowd is pretty mixed. Sometimes there are a lot of older diners, and sometimes there are big French families with their kids running around.
The food is pretty good - I usually get the salmon crepes with creme fraiche and capers. It comes with a simple field greens and balsamic vinaigrette salad. The potato chips that come with the sandwiches are also surprisingly good. They're sliced really thin and just barely salted. The warm bread tastes like someone woke up at 4am to start making it the traditional way.
The service, and this may turn some people off, is pretty leisurely. Even when they aren't busy, our waiters aren't rushing. They're usually just hanging out until we get one of the bus boys to ask one of the waiters to get us the check. :P The bus boys, BTW, are also really friendly. There's a high bus boy to diner ratio and those guys are pretty good about keeping your bread and water stocked.
BTW, if you don't want to valet, you can easily park in a lot behind Thai Stix and cut through the "backyard" to get to the restaurant.
Not Worth It – LIke another reviewer, I too had a bad reaction after eating smoked salmon crepes with creme fraiche at the Sunday brunch. Decided to give it another try but this visit my salmon steak was undercooked and I had to send it back to the kitchen. Besides these things (as if they weren't enough), the food is bland; my bearnaise sauce and the cauliflower gratin I ordered had no flavor. The only thing I can say I enjoyed was the crispy brown bread that came before the meal. Unfortunate as the location is quite good and there aren't so many restaurants close to the museums. This is a far cry from "just like Paris" as some reviewers wrote!! Houstonians should demand more of their restaurants!!
A Night in Paris – Max and Julie's is simply fantastic. I have taken a variety of diners to share a great meal over the last year and every single one has been completely satisfied. They offer wines in the true French tradition-by the glass, carafe, or pitcher, as well as by the bottle. All of their house offerings have been great, particularly the rose. They also have Pommery Pop, which is very hard to find in Houston. The goat cheese salad is fantastic, just like my fav neighborhood bistro in Paris. The pork chop with frites and mustard sauce simply cannot be beat. It is perfect and huge! The steaks have always been great as well as all of the classic sauce offerings. I've had the Chicken Forestiere as well, and it really surprised me how amazing it was. The profiteroles are the perfect end to a perfect dinner. Add in the gorgeous dining space and accommodating waitstaff and you've got a winner of a restaurant!
It's Sauce-some – Every time I go here I have a great meal. I usually get the ribeye, medium-medium rare with two sauces on the side (bernaise, and the mushroom sauce) and it's always perfect. Their riz pilaf is so tasty as are their fries. I also enjoy the charming, open French decor. The only drawback is that as of late the waitstaff/management hasn't been quite as attentive or on task.. However this is very slight. I will keep coming back as it still remains one of my favorite restaurants in H-Town.
VOMITED ALL NIGHT..DIAHREAH – FISH UNDERCOOKED...GOT SICK
AC broke- owner has not and will not fix- don't go! – We went for resturant week 2009 and while the food seemed to be ok and the wine I think would be ok, I am not sure, because it was beyond uncomfortable and HOT! 1 of the 2 AC units broke in the resturant and it was SO hot in there. I couldn't enjoy my food and wine only made me more hot, which was a huge loss for Max and Julie becuase I would for sure ordered more wine because the wine list was very good and diverse. But I will for sure not go back until the owner returns to his senses and fixes his AC problem. This is Houston- it is hot here! This is not a new thing. Get it fixed or loose customers. I will for sure warn my friends of this place.
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