Monday, August 14, 2006

Max Brenner Chocolate

Brunch at Brenner's new location in Union Square was sublime, sophisticated and satisfying. I was initially overwhelmed by the selection of offerings: chocolate bagels, chocolate pizza, chocolate pastry, a vast array of hot chocolate--the menu reads like a small book. Furthermore, I was not completely in the mood for anything sweet. Resisting my desire for a salad, I settled on The After Party Breakfast--warm waffles with white chocolate chunks, toffee bananas, creme fraiche and chocolate truffle sauce. Suprisingly it was more along the lines of the food that I craved than dessert. It ended up being a warm, fufilling choice--a perfect balance between the fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce and creme fraiche. My girlfriend had the omelet. It's served with a side of Brenner's famed chocolate cream, butter and toast. The chocolate was so tasty, that my brunch date, at our waiter's exhortion, forewent the bread, and went after the chocolate with her fingers. I wasn't offended, I both understood and agreed. I loved the hot cocoa. I chose the cocoa with orange zest. It comes in a signature Brenner hug mug, designed to fit cozily between your hands when you sip. The menu refers to it as the cappucino of cocoa, while the fruity orange and chocolate elixir went down as smoothly as afternoon tea. This is my new favorite retail experience as well. Brenner's packaging is awesome. I had to take a picture of his love me, love me not box--customize it with chocolates, and learn your love destiny as your lover takes away each piece. I could go on and on, but I promised my girl that I'd leave room for her guest blog:

So I woke up and I called my darling Chocolate Nerd and made plans to
visit this Max Brenner, this new chocolate Mecca that we'd been
discussing for the last week.

When we stood in front of the Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man
shop it was not what I expected. The WWD article made me think that we
would walk into a Willy Wonka/Alice in Wonderland-style menagerie, but
the stoic brown fa├žade with gold black lettering reminded me of any
large, upscale French-style bistro.

Once you go inside however you really are transported, not necessarily
by the absurdity, but the sheer scale of chocolate. And there are
definite whimsical elements in the decor: every wall has a quote
written on it, or the Bald Man's evocatively scribbled logo, or images
of REALLY yummy looking chocolate beverages in bespoke mugs.
There are
cocoa powders behind glass, bagels with peanut butter and chocolate,
chocolate pizza, a pipe running over the restaurant with 100% Pure
labeled on it (and you KNOW that they are talking about the
chocolate). The restaurant is outfitted with the classic brown French
bistro tables I'd expected and it buzzes with the sophisticated hum
that urban luxury shoppers provide.

There was a slight line when we arrived at 3pm on a Sunday, but within
4 minutes of talking to her the hostess barked out my name and we were
seated. We started with the Chocolat beverage, which the menu likened
to a chocolate cappuccino, I had dark chocolate and the Chocolate Nerd
had one with orange zest. It was served in the Hug Mug, a cup designed
so you wrap both hands around it in the "chocolate drinking ceremony."
(I swear, that that's what the menu said). Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I
was really ready to order another, but Max Brenner's is one of those
places where I feel stupid ordering dupes of any thing, as there are
so many new options. Why waste the precious space in my belly that
could be taken up by a chocolate bagel?

Brunch is an egg meal for me, so I ordered the omelet and it was
great, but as my girl noted, I rocked out on the chocolate spread that
came with my sourdough toast, finally forgoing the toast altogether.
The home fries were roasted and just salty enough, I loved them. After
entrees we were going to have the chocolate mess dessert, but they
were sold out…I guess that will be a reason to go back soon!

The restaurant would be an awesome place to a date with a person who
needs or would like a touch of whimsy, or else a fun treat for your
fellow chocolate lovers young and old. And since it's open 24 hours,
it might be my next after club spot. HOLLA!



K and S said...

I've already got this place on my list to check out in NYC and in Australia! Thanks for sharing.

ShellyS said...

Yummy blog. I'm glad I found it, thanks to Candy Blog.

A friend and I will be going to Max Brenner for dinner next week. I can't wait. :)

PV said...

OMG. You're seriously kiling me! I live in rural Mississippi where delicasies include:
McDonalds fried pies;
Packaged cookies;

But the other day I did stop at an ice cream store in Gulfport, MS., and purchased a frozen chocolate covered cheesecake. It was delicious and I ate almost all of it, leaving one corner only because I am on a diet.

brownieluva said...

I like this place but the tables were a little sticky. Maybe its from scores of kids spilling chocolate syrup all over the place.

Jeanna said...

This place sounds incredible. Too bad Ambrosia in Milwaukee never did anything like this (it might have helped people forget Jeffrey Dahmer worked there).
Great article, great blog.