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Max Fish or 2 Hopewell?

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Anyone braved the crowds at either of these yet? I'm visiting the parents in Portland for a few days over Thanksgiving and was hoping at least one of these was chow-worthy ;) Was leaning towards Max Fish since the one review of 2 Hopewell sounded like it had a few kinks to iron out. Thanks all!

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  1. I have visited 2 Hopewell -- last Saturday, just one day after their grand opening on Friday. My friends and I did not come for a formal dinner up in the dining room, but instead enjoyed drinks, apps, and desert downstairs in the bar area. I think that this place has progressed leaps and bounds from what it used to be. In fact, I don't think that it ought even be compared to the old M&H. They have done a glorious job refurnishing the place. It is sparkling with a fresh new look -- which, to me, is an important part of the experience. It's makeover, however, is surpassed by the food. The mushroom app has a hint of tangy sweetness -- I think provided by a splash of balsamic vinegar redux. The desert that I tried was a silky sweet bread pudding. It's creamy richness was the perfect way to end our autumn evening out. We cleaned our plates and wet our whistles with a couple of draught beers -- which, I might add, we chose from a fine assortment. Yes, they have the stand-by's -- the Bud and the Sam Adams, etc., but I personally tire of these trite comfort brews, and am always looking for a place that may have a little more to offer (especially after being spoiled with west coast microbrews). Their wine list provides the same array in its category of adult libations -- some that we all know and love, others we've never heard of. The appearance of such offerings on a menu provide us with a little intrigue for the evening, and what better way to try them out!?! Certainly better than purchasing a bottle that ends up being so-so, and ultimately finds it's way to the spaghetti sauce - at best; or just sours after a week in it's glassy, lonely hollow. Anyway, I digress... I would give 2 Hopewell a solid thumbs-up, and would encourage my foodie peers to check it out. I would guess that they still have logistical "kinks to work out," but feel confident that this place breaths new life and believe that it will add a much needed spark to the immediate neighborhood. I only wish I lived closer!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktbugfood

      I have been to Max Fish twice and 2 Hopewell twice and my strong opinion is that 2 Hopewell definately surpasses MaxFish. I was dissappointed both times at Max Fish. The first time I figured it just had some kinks to iron out. I went again last week and was more dissappointed then the first time. I found the entrees to be very bland and void of all seasoning. The service was completely subpar as our waiter came back and apologized for taking so long but he had an oppurtunity to filet a fish and must have felt that was more important than serving the guest.
      2 Hopewell on the other hand has provided wonderful service on both occasions. We were there late but no there seemed to be no urgency to close up and kick us out. It was so nice to actually be able to dine in Glastonbury with out being kicked out by 10-10:30ish. The food was also well prepared and I loved the wine and beer list.

    2. I live in town and am absolutely thrilled w/ 2 Hopewell. A great asset to our community. the food is great, atmosphere is very well done w/ nice wood tones, and the staff very accomodating and helpful. Braised Shortribs a must and the Chocolate Mouse to die for. I am so glad they are here especially compared to what used to be located in the same building for years. Upstairs is more upscale while the downstairs bar is well done and a more relxed atmosphere with live music on occassion that is not too loud.
      A+ in my book.
      Please support them as I would love to see them do well.

      1. we ate at max fish a few weeks back and were very disppointed. side dishes were cold - the mashed potatoes were not only cold -- they tasted like someone dumped a salt shaker in the pan. the waitress was distracted [we went to the bar and got our own cocktails for two rounds]. and the fish was just ok.

        1. have you considered Sauce? I'm going in a couple of weeks but the courant sure gave it raves.

          2 Replies
          1. re: geminigirl

            I went to Sauce after reading the glowing review in the Courant. It was the worst meal I have ever had in my life. Meatballs were cold and the first bite had a bone in it. An appetizer described as "grilled pears with gorgonzola" was an ice cold, grayish mushy sludge plopped into a bowl. Their sauce tastes like jarred store-brand. The service was horrible. I know other people who have had similar experiences there as well. The manager gave us a gift card and didn't charge us for the entrees (which is good since we only took 1 bite each). The gift card went in the trash.

            1. re: stretchy cat

              Wow - this is the first really bad review I have heard of. I know people that go to Sauce often and they haven't had this kind of experience or anything close to it. I wonder could it just have been a really bad night??? Jay

          2. I've been to Max Fish twice and both times it was stellar. Better than sister restaurant Max Amore's. More like Max's Oyster Bar. A friend and her husband went to Sauce and had one of the worst dining experiences of her life, and that's no overstatement. The manager apologized profusely and they didn't have to pay their bill but they won't go back. Now I'm afraid to go. I've never been to Hopewell's.

            1. I have usually found the Max restaurants to be more a place to be "seen" rather than a place to find really good food and service. I also find them way too loud.


              8 Replies
              1. re: NE_Elaine

                Actually I am impressed at the quality of their service and their food although I will agree that their restaurants can be loud. But that's just because they're so popular. I brave the noise level because I happen to think the food is very good. Although I most often go there for lunch when it's not quite as noisy.

                1. re: ntuitive1

                  I tried calling yesterday to get a reservation for tonight or Saturday and they were booked. Could not get in until after 9:00 either night. Coworker tried and found the same thing. That is crazy. I got my wife a gift certificate there before the holidays and we want to use it. Kind of wish that I had got it at Sauce now since it is so good but I am going to pick a date in the next two weeks and make a reservation. I did find Max Fish to be noisy when I picked up the gift certificate in the middle of the day. That is whuy I am going to insist on sitting in the dinning room and not the bar. Jay

                  1. re: JayCT

                    I know that Sauce has had good write ups.And now I see a bad one. But all I can say about it,having not been there. And looking at the menu on line, in my OPINION, for what it is and where it is located There prices are a little on the high side. Of course being in Glastonbury its going to be a little pricey. As is the case with all the Restaurants in the area. Glastonbury being a little higher priced place to live it reflects on dinning out places unfortunately.

                    1. re: Earle

                      yeah, Sauce reviews seem either really good or really bad, haven't seen much inbetween...We have reservations for next weekend so I'll let you know how it turns out.

                      1. re: geminigirl

                        Where was there a bad review of Sauce? I must have missed it. Jay

                        1. re: JayCT

                          Hi, just breifly mentioned above, and I guess it's been more of service problems, etc...that I hear about rather than food...Probably me just mixing up all the new restaurants in town...i'll post back after I actually try it out:) Did you ever get a reservation?

                          1. re: JayCT

                            I had some uncomplimentary things to say about the food at Sauce in a post after my first experience there. On a subsequent visit those issues were not present. Service was excellent both times!

                          2. re: geminigirl

                            A few coworkers of mine were at Sauce recently and thought it was terrible. I am not itching to try it out.

                  2. This has really turned into a Max Fish/2hopewell/Sauce thread. I've eaten at each restaurant twice, and, although there are individual strengths and weaknesses, at this point in time I would have to endorse 2hopewell. Max Fish provided good service, but food was somewhat inconsistent and value was questionable (my mantra about Max). Sauce also had some consistency issues with food, but service both times was flawless! 2hopewell had excellent food and good service on both occasions, and a more down to earth, non-corporate ambiance. On the other hand, their menu is more limited than Max Fish or Sauce.

                    This is a wonderful problem to be faced with! Three arguably excellent restaurants opening within a few months and within a few miles of each other. My advice: try them all!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: jkuhlen

                      We went to 2 Hopewell Saturday night. We were able to get an 8:00 reservation downstairs when we called around 4:00 PM, apparently the last available reservation. It was totally packed upstairs and down. Live jazz downstairs. Great food and great service even with the amazing crowd. It was loud but a really fun atmosphere. Everything we ordered was delicious, although the crab rangoon appetizer was a bit one dimensional and got boring before we were halfway through it. We'll definitely return.

                      I've been to Max Fish twice and was not impressed either time. Service was OK but the food was a bit bland, nothing special. I love Max downtown and have eaten there many, many times and always have a great meal. Max Amore has a few very dependable good dishes and a lot of misses. TK is consistantly great for what they offer.

                      Looking forward to trying Sauce.

                      1. re: plafield

                        Did anyone see the review of 2 Hopewell in today's Hartford Courant? Another rave review for a new Glastonbury restaurant. The reviewer even mentioned seeing some people that are normally regulars of only West Hartford restaurants here and talked about how great it is that Glastonbury has so many great new restaurants (Max Fish and Sauce). Sounds like Glastonbury is the place to eat east of the river. Jay

                        1. re: JayCT

                          Well, I have now eaten at 2 Hopewell 3 more times, Fish once more and tried Sauce. 2 Hopewell has been great every time. Fabulous food, great service.

                          I'm done with Fish. 2 mediocre food experiences are enough for me.

                          We actually quite enjoyed Sauce and will try it again. We didn't eat any main courses but had a couple of "tapas" (fresh mozzarella and tomato and basil plus the chicken liver pate) both excellent. We also had the arancine (Fried rice and cheese balls served with good tomato sauce) which were delicious as well as a shrimp alfredo pizza. Delicious. I don't love the ambiance of the place, feels like a hotel lobby, but what we ate for food was quite good, the service was fine and we'll definitely try it again.

                          1. re: plafield

                            Went to Max fish last week and it was excellent. We had stuffed lobsters and it had the tastiest stuffing I have ever had. Also liked the carrot sticks with horse radish sauce and the fresh bread. guess it depends on what you order and expect. Will probably be going back soon.

                            Have yet to get down to 2 Hopewell but Sauce has been wonderful everytime I have been there. Also I like the decor. Jay

                            1. re: JayCT

                              Four of us went to Max Fish several months ago and none of us would return. Number 1--too loud--why would anyone enjoy a meal where they had to yell to have a conversation during dinner? And then, when I went to the restroom and hit the button on the hand dryer, well, jusy make sure you're wearing ear protection. Number two--food not great. We much prefer Max's Oyster Bar which is also closer to home.

                              1. re: food101

                                Did you eat in the bar area or the dining room. we did not find the dining room to be loud at all. The bar area is a different story. As for the food, I have found it to be comparable to the Oyster Bar. The chef at Fish came from the Oyster Bar and the quality is the same. Maybe you were expecting too much. Jay

                                1. re: JayCT

                                  It was a Saturday night and we ate in the dining room. We expected the food to be as good as Max's Oyster Bar or Max Downtown and it simply wasn't. The service was the only outstanding thing about the restaurant.