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Jan 2, 2010 11:46 AM

Max's 22 on Route 22W in NJ

Max's 31 in Flemington has opened a sister restaurant on Route 22W near Lebanon. The new place apparently has a very similar Italian menu but unlike the Flemington site it has a liquor license. For those who know the area, it's right next to the Readington Diner.

I think it's unfortunate that yet another Italian restaurant has opened in this part of New Jersey (will someone PLEASE open a good Chinese or Indian place!). Plus, I've never been much of a fan of Max's so I doubt I'll be going to this new restaurant anytime soon. I'm hoping, however, that someone will post and tell me that it's vastly superior to the Flemington restaurant! :-))

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  1. Don't you think you should try a restaurant before you post a negative comment? We thought Max's 22 was excellent, with a varied but accessible menu, helpful service, and wonderful food. We really could use this casual but good quality food with a liquor license restaurant in this area.

    1. First, there's no such thing as too many Italian restaurants! I've been trying Italian restaurants of all levels since 1947 and haven't tired yet! As Neil Simon said: "There are only two Universal Laws, Gravity and everyone loves Italian food!

      As for Max's 22, I have found favor with all of Max's products. Max's 31 even passed the Ralphie-from-Brooklyn test. Ralphie was my guest there and he loved it.

      My wife & I tried Max's 22 on a whim on New Year's Eve - i.e., we went without a reservation. Knowing we might not get in we went early and scored a table - one of the last opened tables before they did start turning people away.

      Our meals were wonderful. I had a simple Penne Vodka (laced with prosciutto and peas). Man o man that kitchen knows what al dente means! My wife tried the chicken satimbocca style, loved it but had to take most of it home it was such a large portion.

      My Caesar salad was also excellent. I particularly appreciated that the romaine leaves were cut bite sized. I find too many places fill the salad plates with elephant ear sized leafs. I would also give high notes to the house crafted croutons in the Caesar.

      If you ever tried the Foolish Fox (what the place was last go-round), Max has dedone the interior making it roomier and adding a wall between the dining room and bar.

      Ti me, Max's 22 is a keeper.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CompareFranco

        My family and I have dined at Max's 31 a few times over the years - and we've never been impressed. The food is OK at best.

        Haven't tried the food at Max's 22 yet - but I have heard that they have been having a lot of trouble with staffing etc.

      2. Anyone been to Max's 22 since (or in addition to) CompareFranco? Based on his/her review, I'll probably give it a try this Saturday night - - the wife and I need to get out for a good, casual dinner after too many snow days with the kids at home! But if someone thinks Max's 22 is or is not a wise choice, let me know and save my rare night out.

        1. The Fox and Hound restaurant in the old Lebanon Hotel a few miles away is a very good old stagecoach stop with great ambiance and a friendly staff with acclaimed chef Brian Spagnola in the kitchen.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LEOFONT

            Agreed. I was at the Fox and Hound for the first time two weeks ago and enjoyed a good meal in the Tavern Room. The atmosphere was perfect on a snowy evening - - lively and full of good cheer but never too noisy. I had the wild boar ragu (which was on the menu as an entree although on the website shows it as an appetizer), but my dinner companions made the better choice of excellant sauteed scallops.

            BTW - I never made it to Max's 22 on Saturday night and instead went to Bombay Spice in Bridgewater. We started with the bhelpoori - - home made "rice crispies" mixed with onion, tomato, and spices. (Sounds odd but it's a great combination of textures and flavors). Along with the usual assortment of breads, I had one of the lamb specials which was very good (but whose name I did not catch). My wife ordered a dish that was essentially boneless chicken tandoori, good but "average" tasting. Mostly, I like the atmosphere there, although many might find it is not to their taste. It is pretty much just a storefront with tables. However by dimming the lights they somehow create the right vibe with just a few curtains and pictures. The owners, a husband and wife team, took all the orders and served all the food. I'm no connoisseur of Indian cuisine, but I suspect it is fairly authentic (or at least acceptable to those who would know) because most of the patrons that evening were Indian including a large family party in "traditional" attire.

            1. re: Forklaw

              Can anyone share info on the bar area of Max's 22? Are there tables? Is it a large area or small? Is it too noisy or OK for holding a conversation? I'm considering meeting a date there and since we are meeting for the 1st time (just for a drink) and I've never been in the place before, want to make sure we can talk and not have to scream and can sit at a table.

              Please let me know if you've been there. Or if you can recommend a decent place in Hunterdon or Somerset county to meet a date for a drink, that would be great. Preferably no "pick up" places or anywhere too wild or noise.


              1. re: MGA

                The bar area in the Pluckemin Inn seems like it would meet your needs very well.

                The Pluckemin Inn
                359 US Highway 202, Bedminster, NJ 07921

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