The New Max
We tried the new menu at Max in Sherman Oaks last night and will definitely be returning.
The restaurant feels like a bistro now. It's brighter and the specials are listed on chalkboards. The place was packed and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
We started with the crab dumplings and the beet salad. Both were excellent. The dumplings, in particular, which are served in a light curry sauce, shouldn't be missed.
For mains we had the miso cod, the short ribs and the hamburger. The burger is pretty busy, but it's a good choice for those who like theirs fancy. The short ribs were delicate and rich. Miso cod is like the new grilled salmon on L.A. menus, but this one is as good as you'll find anywhere.
It's not a cheap place, but it is very fairly priced for the quality and experience. The service was excellent and the corkage fee was $12 a bottle.
We were there last week and were really re-impressed. I always liked the old Max, but it felt stuffy to me. Now this is more casual but the quality of the food is still top notch. I had the lamb tacos (very good but the pita just couldn't hold up to the weight of the lamb patty) and the short ribs 2 ways, one prep I liked better than the other, both a little heavy on the salt. We spent a good amount of time speaking with Toby, the director of operations, who talked about his plans for the place. They are now serving weekday lunch and are hoping to add Sunday Brunch soon. We live right up the block, so the idea of another brunch option in our 'hood excites me. We asked him what was going on with the fondue place next door and he told us it's going to be a Stone Fire Pizza. He also volunteered that the real estate office on the corner of Dixie Canyon and Ventura is being turned into frozen yogurt place. He's hoping these additions revitalize the street.
Max is more expensive than anything else on that block (and the two restaurants across the street) but it's a place worth supporting when you can.
It's another place where I find myself wanting to just have several appetizers instead of a main, which I think I will do next time.
Muhlyssa - that is exactly what I did the last time I dined at Max. Had the lamb tacos, the cauliflower/truffle soup(daily special not always available), and the chicken liver pate. All very very good. Wine list quite nice, and yes, the decorational change really improved the ambiance significantly.
They opened for lunch about a week, maybe two, ago, meaning Monday-Friday, from 11:30 I think. Have not tried yet.
Most expensive restaurant in that area is Mistral, and fairly significantly so at that, meaning in the block west, across the street.
But I do feel that the Dixie Canyon Dining center, meaning that immediate area, is where you can eat quite well.
Then of course there is the Boneyard to the west, which is the only real other nearby option.