Saturday, November 13, 2010

Max Brenner

I had heard more than once about the notorious Max Brenner chocolate shop on 14th and Broadway (near Union Square), but I'm not a big chocolate fan, so I had never ventured into the joint. My friend, Erin (H.) suggested that it might be a good thing to blog about, though, so I decided to give it a go. Now, before you declare me to be un-American, I don't dislike chocolate. I just tend to be more a salty craving girl; a.k.a., I would generally rather spend my calories on pizza instead of chocolate. Little did I know that I would find the perfect balance at Max Brenner.

When we entered, the restaurant looked a little more like a pared down chocolate factory a la Willy Wonka than Max Brenner (whoever he is). There were huge vats of different kinds of chocolate being stirred with cuisinart-like paddles the size of kindergartners. There was a store to the right with every kind of packaged chocolate and derivative of chocolate that you could possibly imagine. To the left was a long bar with coffees and pastries that were (obviously) all centered around the store theme. The rest of the restaurant was devoted to booths and cute little curly chairs. Couples were sprinkled around the restaurant having lunch on two levels under pipes that were (supposedly) pumping chocolate to the front of the restaurant to be mixed. "They have real food here?", I asked the hostess. She politely offered me a menu and I went to work devouring it with my foodie talons. Try as I might, I couldn't. The entrees were generally American fare featuring a small but interesting twist, but what was most striking were the prices. Cheap-ety cheap! Like, Applebee's prices with Mesa Grill entrees. And not everything was chocolate. I vowed to come back when I was hungrier and ventured to the pastry counter.

Chocolate croissants, eclairs, hot chocolate, etc., were all beautifully crafted and displayed behind glass. I strolled along the line and was stopped in my tracks by the perfect combination. Chocolate pizza. OMG. I looked at the worker with a tear in my eye. "Really?", I asked. "Would you like marshmallows or heath bar?", he asked. I ordered marsmallows and they proceeded to make me chocolate pizza. From scratch (well, not the crust, but everything else). Ten minutes later, I was eating the richest dessert I had ever had. Was it dessert? I didn't care. It was hot and it was heavenly. The perfect pairing. Max Brenner, whoever you are, thank you.

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