745 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Even during a busy week of psets, club meetings, and overfilled laundry baskets, my friends and I always make time for birthday celebrations. For Austen’s 18th birthday, we went out to the one and only Max Brenner, a chocolate bar restaurant in the Back Bay area. On a Thursday night at 10pm, it still took us half an hour to get a table for six, so I could only imagine the crowd on a weekend—let alone Valentine’s Day.
The atmosphere was akin to a romantic coffee shop, with dim lighting, jazzy music, and wooden furniture. While there was a food menu, we chose to order only from the restaurant’s more famous dessert menu. The overwhelming number of dessert choices ranged everywhere from chocolate pizza to chocolate crepes, and I ended up settling on the Banana Split Waffle.
The dessert came with a sugar waffle topped with caramelized bananas with a scoop of ice cream on top. There was also a small vial (or, to be precise, a mini Erlenmeyer flask) full of milk chocolate ganache, and a little bowl of Choco-pops. The waffle itself was a bit dry, but the rest of the toppings certainly made up for its texture. Not overly sweet, the bananas’ crispy caramelized layer was a nice contrast to the soft texture of the banana itself. With a different kind of sweetness, the scoop of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate ganache drizzle balanced the caramel’s flavor. The addition of the small, crunchy Choco-pops added an extra touch of texture that completed the dessert.
Rumya and Julia both ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut Milkshake, which was vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate ganache, chocolate hazelnut spread, and whipped cream. Served in an Alice Cup with the words “Drink Me” on the side, Rumya described the milkshake as “liquid Nutella.”
As a table, we ordered the Classic European Fondue for Two with milk and white chocolate. The fondue came out in three stacked bowls (milk chocolate, caramel, and white chocolate), and there were two other bowls full of strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, chocolate sponge cake, and chocolate chip cookies. There was even a mini grill that we could use to roast our marshmallows.
The portion size of the fondue (both the chocolate, and the dipping sweets) was on the small side, and the chocolate was nothing out-of-the-world, so a hefty part of its $22 price tag was the atmosphere and experience of the fondue—not to mention the fame of the restaurant itself.
With its cozy environment and creative chocolate dishes, I understand why some might classify Max Brenner as a must-try Boston restaurant, but I do caution you that the prices are reflective of the restaurant’s fame. 7/10