Orlea Miller ‘16
As I walk into the renowned Max Brenner, revered by chocolate lovers like myself, I can’t help but be pleasantly taken aback by all of the wall paintings and decor, bringing me into some alternative Willie Wonka-esque world. As I glance from wall to wall, I immediately notice the chocolate concoctions filling the shelves, both of the restaurant and the chocolate bar that greets you as you enter.
In 1996, Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner combined their names and opened their first shop together in Israel, selling homemade chocolates. Within four years, the first Max Brenner Chocolate Bar opened in Australia, home to the majority of the company’s 50 locations today. By 2006, Max Brenner opened in the United States as a restaurant, offering sweet and savory menu options. The wildly popular concept continues to expand annually, opening locations in Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, and Russia.
After hearing about the international sensation, I knew Max Brenner was a restaurant I had to visit. I was warned of the irresistible Chocolate Bar that sells every type of chocolate truffle you can think of, chocolate covered nuts, and even holiday-themed bonbon collections. The edible options are endless, and that isn’t even taking into account the Max Brenner mugs, recipe books, and clothing that line the small store.
But I was there for more than the world famous chocolate bar. The Restaurant. Indulging in a meal centered around dessert. Needless to say, I did my research before arriving. I know that in order to fully enjoy the treasured final course, I have to select a light option for lunch.
When we sit down, I immediately open the menu (the “drinks & sweets” menu that is), and spend a good 20 minutes selecting the perfect dessert to share with my lunch partner. Starting with smaller treats, the menu first describes the hot chocolate creations and milkshakes—both good choices, but not enough to satisfy our dessert palates.
Next are descriptions of the waffles, which come in banana split, tutti frutti, and “munchies” (your choice of two ice cream flavors, whipped cream, milk chocolate ganache, and their signature “Choco-Pops”). Then, the crepes: banana hazelnut, strawberry hazelnut, peanut butter and banana, and s’mores. Quite the selection, and quite the challenge. There are plenty of other options too—the menu is over 20 pages long, and includes sundaes, dessert pizzas, ice cream bars for dipping, and a variety of fondue options…
Since we were dining over the weekend, we both selected eggs from the brunch menu to start. I chose one of their “outrageous omelets,” stuffed with mushroom, spinach, onion, peppers, tomato and swiss cheese. But savory isn’t enough at Max Brenner; my omelet comes with fruit and a “diamond-dusted sugar buttermilk biscuit,” as if to ensure I am getting my sweet fix in each course. While the restaurant isn’t necessarily known for its food, I am satisfied in this department, and quickly finish my breakfast selection.
As we let our food digest, we contemplate the dessert menu for a few more minutes, trying to decide between our final two choices: the s’mores crepe and the chocolate chunks pizza. We hold out as long as we can, extending our experience and making sure we have made the best choice on the menu.
Once we can’t wait to taste the first bites of the treat we truly came for, we select the s’mores crepe: a warm, smooth crepe filled to the brim with crunchy graham crackers, milk chocolate chunks, hazelnut spread, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, and served with milk chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream.
I can’t confirm all of the items listed are included, because the crepe somehow disappears before I know it. I did my best to savor each bite, trying to refrain from swallowing the crepe whole. As if the buttery outer layer isn’t enough, it’s filled with the perfect amount of each ingredient, allowing me to enjoy the true “s’more” flavor in every bite.
Everything about the experience was perfect, from the ambiance to the glorious scent wafting through the air to every last morsel of the crepe (and its accompaniments). And if you’re not quite ready to foot the bill, your waiter leaves it enclosed in a tin container reminding you of the importance of chocolate, in case you somehow forgot.
As Max Brenner explains, “chocolate is not just about taste. It’s a symbol of different aspects in our lives – of romance, of sensuality, of decadence.”