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Max's Harvest: Farm-to-Table/Slow Food Coming to Delray's Pineapple Grove

CFByrne Apr 24, 2011 12:23 PM

I'm excited about how this coming addition to Delray looks to be shaping up.

Bill Citara has the scoop:

"He helped make "California cuisine" popular in South Florida, now Dennis Max is spreading the farm-to-table gospel that originated in California to white-hot Delray Beach, where in June he expects to open his own outpost of that now-nationwide culinary trend, Max's Harvest...

"As for Harvest's physical space, which as Taste was slammed for being even more uncomfortable than it was cold and uninviting, Max plans a warmer and comfier "California Country" redo, with a front dining area that opens onto a garden-like patio set with tables and candles...

"Indoors, Taste's butt-busting seating will be replaced with more derriere-friendly booths, banquettes and bistro chairs, while the small back patio will be re-landscaped to become a place for "food-wine cocktail party grazing."

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2011/04/dennis_max_delray_beach_maxs_harvest_taste_gastropub.php

And the PB Post added:

"Max said he's reaching back to his roots in California for the same style of creative American cuisine that launched his restaurant empire decades ago. Then, as now, an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients is making a comeback.

"Max said Max's Harvest is similar to a Miami restaurant called Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, which features food harvested locally from farmers and fishermen."

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/pi...

  1. OysterHo Apr 24, 2011 03:53 PM

    Really looking forward to this one!

    1. Icantread Apr 28, 2011 09:02 AM

      Sounds great, though this trumped-up ad-agency line made me cringe - " where in June he expects to open his own outpost of that now-nationwide culinary trend, Max's Harvest..." Let's hope that just means he's too busy paying attention to sourcing the food and coming up with recipes to worry about mumbo-jumbo

      2 Replies
      1. re: Icantread
        Icantread Apr 28, 2011 09:06 AM

        Just read the article, and realized the wording is NT fault, not his marketing department.

        1. re: Icantread
          OysterHo Apr 28, 2011 05:56 PM

          lol at your screenname "Ican'tread"

          Still can't wait to go! :D

      2. CFByrne May 12, 2011 02:52 PM

        Signs of life this afternoon...

        "Now hiring FOH & BOH" sign on front door.

        Three fellows in chef's coat spotted...

        1. CFByrne May 17, 2011 03:58 AM

          Jan Norris has a lengthy and revealing interview with Dennis Max here:
          http://www.jannorris.com/eat-beat/eat...

          I would only take issue with one point. Regarding "farm to fork", Max says "I’m very pleased that young people are so aware" and "there’s a new movement with the young people – a whole essence of purity, clean living styles they’re wanting. They’re willing to support an authentic way of life, if you will."

          I think this movement actually has largely been driven by an awakening in boomers.I only hope Max was talking about young people IN ADDITION to boomers, and that this isn't a signal his new spot will be geared to hipsters or "trend-setters", i.e. "young people".

          Sounds like we could see an opening around the first weekend in June.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CFByrne
            OysterHo May 22, 2011 06:15 PM

            LOL at young people. The young ones I know don't know the difference between a garbage can and recycling can! Nor do they care. You're probably right about the trendy hipsters he's trying to woo.

          2. CFByrne Jun 8, 2011 11:18 AM

            Max's Harvest opens tomorrow evening (Thursday). From outside, it looks like they've changed the interior in a very nice way. And I'm hearing good buzz from locals who've been inside.

            But the rubber meets the road when real people start dining off the menu tomorrow. I'll likely go Thursday or this weekend, stay tuned for write-up. Menu and details on their website.
            http://www.maxsharvest.com/menu_food....

            1. CFByrne Jun 11, 2011 10:26 AM

              Dined here last night. WOW. Full review coming soon. But for now - great atmosphere, warm and inviting. Staff smiling and helpul, obviously superbly trained. Both head Chef Chris, and Chef Patrick (on temp loan from Max's Grille) appear to see every plate that leaves the open kitchen. Dennis Max also on patrol, talking with guests, correcting small staff mistakes no doubt, etc.

              nd then there's the food of course. Our group tried a wide variety of apps and entrees and everything was terrific. I think they're going to have a hit on their hands here.

              If you're looking for something new tonight - highly recommended. Menu below. If you go tell the chefs "Mango Charlie" sent you :-)

              http://www.maxsharvest.com/menu_food....

              4 Replies
              1. re: CFByrne
                OysterHo Jun 12, 2011 03:32 PM

                I can't wait to go AND hear your review!

                1. re: CFByrne
                  t
                  timxph Jun 30, 2011 12:00 PM

                  I went last night with another couple and overall enjoyed the restaurant and would definitely go back. Here's my take:

                  Pros: Nice warm ambiance, good energy, friendly & knowledgable staff. Good menu, lots of items on the menu I wanted to order, good pricing. Great timing on the food (which is sometimes a problem with new restaurants).

                  Cons: While service was friendly and knowledgable, there was not a lot of attention to detail paid. For example, no silverware for the second course, not asking if we wanted more wine (which lost them money, as we would have ordered more had the server not waited til the end of the meal to ask), pouring all the bottled water into one persons glass when the others at the table were low nor offering another bottle, and not coming to check on us after the entrees were dropped for about 15 mins. Which was a problem (wine) and as one person ordered the burger and they don't serve anything for the fries, and they wanted to dip... Brought us the wrong tables check. As for the food, it was good however, everything except for the grill items came out a tad underseasoned.

                  What we ate: deviled eggs, daily crostinis, pork belly app, chips and onion dip, meatballs, baby artichokes, hearts of palm salad, aspargus and egg app, burrata salad, bavette steak, pork chop and the burger. We skipped dessert, they only have 4 and they are verbalized, no menu, we were stuffed anyway.

                  We all agreed the standouts were the daily crostini (there are two types served) our favorite was the duck confit with goat cheese and cherry, roasted baby artichokes and the hearts of palm salad. They were excellent. The other items were definitely good and there is nothing we didn't enjoy. The chips and onion dip are the only thing that could use some work. I notice this item becoming popular at more and more restaurants, but the chips were cold and had no seasoning and the dip was just not very flavorful, very bland for onion dip.

                  Had the service been more on point we probably would have really enjoyed the experience, but they are new, so we understand and don't hold it against them, but it did distract from the evening and a rave review. Overall the food was interesting and good, and it's right down the street from me, so I will go back and look forward to trying other things on the menu.

                  1. re: timxph
                    CFByrne Jun 30, 2011 04:51 PM

                    Hey Tim. I'm shocked at your service issues. I've been here 4 times now and have not had that problem, at all... hopefully it was just an isolated case. Obviously there's an experienced pro team running this place so I can't imagine this going on for long.

                    In fact, it's funny... but my wife is a total stickler for new silverware with new courses. And on our most recent visit, we had finished our apps and the server cleared the plates etc... and immediately brought new silverware. And I said to my wife "Aha - did you see that!". I specifically remember this because it's definitely a pet peeve and it was very noticable how they did it right here.

                    Anyway... I still owe my writeup from my visits... have been busy with other stuff but hopefully get to this weekend, maybe after another visit to check out the situation after the opening "rush".

                    1. re: timxph
                      Asumnuthin Jul 5, 2011 08:36 AM

                      Interesting review tim. I agree that some service issues can be expected of a newer rest, but not dropping the wrong check, that just sounds like carelessness. Good food doesn’t keep me coming back to a place with those types of service issues, although in light of CFB good food review, I will give the place a try.

                  2. CFByrne Jul 2, 2011 10:38 AM

                    New review here from South Florida Dine

                    http://southflorida.dinemag.net/resta...

                    1. CFByrne Jul 4, 2011 01:11 PM

                      I’ve been here three times now. I’m not going to go into a detailed review except to say “I like it a lot”. One of the things I noticed right away is that the staff seems happy. I hate dining in a restaurant where the staff looks like robots or miserable. I think they succeeded with the total redo on the décor too. Definitely tons warmer than the previous design of Taste.

                      Two minor quibbles. On one occasion, the back room (not outside, before that) had a party of 4 at one table being very boisterous and the room seemed uncomfortably loud. I wonder if some sound-deadening would be in order here. Plus of course it’s a high traffic area to start with as it’s on the way to the outdoor back area. The other quibble was the opening bread offering. Seemed like a fairly plain, room temp roll with standard butter. I always love starting out with warmed rolls, maybe a variety (some sweet and/or multigrain). But those are two minor points.

                      All the food I’ve had, either myself or sharing, has ranged from very good to fantastic. Favorites so far include:
                      Heritage pork belly app
                      BLT Salad – fabulous - house cured bacon!
                      Cedar Key clams and Shrimp with Tasso app
                      Wahoo crudo – fantastic!
                      Wild salmon main
                      Hand cut paparedelle spring lamb ragout
                      A chocolate pot de crème and crème brulee were also superb.
                      Good craft beer including Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA

                      Highly recommended. Photos attached

                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                      1. CFByrne Jul 15, 2011 04:47 PM

                        Just got back from a visit here. I grew up on the waterfront on Long Island so I'm picky about my seafood. They had a scallop special, app or entree tonight, really superb.

                        We got the entree, photo attached.

                        They were a special - so I don't have the full description.

                        But they're big (U-10) Northeast (ME or MA) non-soaked scallops, over risotto with mushrooms, asparagus, baby carrots (I think) and anise 3 ways.

                         
                        2 Replies
                        1. re: CFByrne
                          OysterHo Jul 16, 2011 05:22 AM

                          OMG these pics...those scallops!! I really hope to go back there asap!

                          1. re: OysterHo
                            CFByrne Jul 16, 2011 06:58 AM

                            Yes, we had a terrific meal. We shared the scallop entree, shown above.

                            Also I should mention one of my few minor gripes was fixed, the bread is now home-made and served with a tasty locally-made whey butter.

                            And before the entree, we shared two apps (pix attached):

                            Burrata and Heirloom Tomato- Bread Salad with Arugula & Parsley, and 25 yr Aged Balsamic.

                            And

                            Heritage Pork Belly - Bourbon-Maple Glaze, Sautéed Local Peaches & Mustard Greens .

                            I actually mixed the two apps and prepared myself a little Burrata "BLT" with pork belly, heirloom tomato, and greens on the bread. Not bad. :-)

                             
                             
                        2. CFByrne Sep 9, 2011 04:58 AM

                          Nice write-up on Max's in the Palm Beach Post.

                          "Somewhere between the ooze of local, handmade burrata and the peppery edge of farm-fresh arugula, the essence of Max’s Harvest revealed itself..."

                          http://www.pbpulse.com/dining/2011/09...

                          1. z
                            zook Sep 15, 2011 11:35 PM

                            After seeing the blurb in the Sentinel yesterday about their $29 dinner deal, it was an easy choice last night when looking for a place for dinner in Delray. this was my first visit to Max's Harvest. The 3 course $29 menu had four choices of apps, mains, and a choice of 2 desserts. I started my evening with one of their specialty cocktails that was described as vodka with tabasco, cucumber and something else that escapes me It was quite good although not what I expected in that there was no hint of tabasco and tasted more of mild lemon and cucumber We shared the crab cakes
                            and pork belly, pork chop and scallops, and donuts and chocolate cake. The portion size was good and had I not seen the photos in some of the reviews below, I wouldn't have realized that they cut back for this dining deal, in that my scallop dinner came only with three of the ginormous scallops and not four as depicted in the photos herein. It was clear that green beans were the fresh item as they were woven into each menu item. Contrary to the one complaint about service below, our server provided very warm, friendly, competent service (with the attendant silverware changes, drink checks, etc). The food was tasty and satisfying and great value for this 5:30-7:30 dining deal. The restaurant was full on a Thursday night although I don't know whether this is always the case or like me, was driven by the note in the newspaper that day. Smart advertising, as it brought me in to try the restaurant and having had an enjoyable meal as a result, will draw me back for a return visit.

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: zook
                              erica Jan 20, 2012 03:58 AM

                              I am heading to this area, from NYC, to visit family at the end of next month. Looking for places to eat, I came across this thread. Max's sounds good! (Surprised at the prices, though, which are on a level with Manhattan)

                              Questions: Are the recent reports good? Do they still have the "early bird" dinner? I could not find this on their menu.

                              Would love to hear other recommendations in Boynton/Delray. No price range, just want good value, and food that will satisfy my admittedly high standards. Are there other restaurants with this type of "market-to-table focus?

                              Thanks!

                              1. re: erica
                                CFByrne Jan 20, 2012 05:00 AM

                                Erica, by coincidence I stopped in last night, to make a reservation for tonight. So I'll know more after this evening.

                                The early bird is NOT active now AFAIK. As is somewhat typical, it's a tool SoFla restaurants use in the off-season (appx May-Nov) to attract locals when business is much slower.

                                I did grab a menu and noticed the dishes seem to have become more complex, and also more expensive. This location is a hit so perhaps that's a function of their success to a certain degree.

                                "Snacks" are in the $6-$8 range, "small plates" mostly $13-$17, veg "sides" $7, and "think big" have mostly broken the $30 barrier, a few veg/pasta mains below that, but most meat/fish come in at $31-$39 and up.

                                That said, this $20 main looks intruiging, I may have to try this tonight:

                                Crisp Parmesan Rissoto Cake - Wild mushrooms, English peas, Baby carrot, Zucchini ribbons, Roasted onion, Heirloom tomato coulis, Truffled herb salad.

                                One thing I noticed last night, as I was there near closing, having a drink at the small bar: Running a place like this is a very expensive proposition (duh). The store was pretty much closing but most or all staff was there cleaning up etc, and I counted roughly 30.

                                This place is not big. So between skyrocketing food costs, salaries, and all the rest... that dough's gotta come from somewhere.

                                1. re: CFByrne
                                  erica Jan 20, 2012 11:59 AM

                                  Thanks for the reply, CF. I look forward to hearing your comments about the meal!

                                  1. re: erica
                                    CFByrne Jan 21, 2012 12:24 PM

                                    All is still terrific. Maybe even better. Wife has the burrata small plate which has been reinvented somewhat, she absolutely loves it. I stole a little bit and mixed it with my pork belly app and I couldn't have been happier.

                                    For main, she got scallops over risotto and also loved this, we actually could only finish half before we got too full. I had two small plates, the rock shrimp ceviche and a snack of fire-roasted shishitsu peppers - really tasty

                                    The service could not have been better from start to finish. And it's really a very good looking place. And with the nice weather, they open it up and it's even nicer. A couple of pics attached.

                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: CFByrne
                                      erica Jan 22, 2012 06:42 AM

                                      Excellent! Max's will be our "treat" dinner for the Florida relatives. We will be there for 4 nights, from a Sunday through Wednesday, at the end of next month. Any other food-related tips welcome. For example: Worth the annoyance to lug home some great oranges? To buy fish to cook at their place: Frank's in Boynton (?)

                                      Many thanks!

                                2. re: erica
                                  z
                                  zook Jan 20, 2012 02:03 PM

                                  Yes, Erica, the food is still good. I've been back several times. I haven't seen the "early bird" promoted or offered there although a friend of mine said it was offered over the holidays albeit at an increased price of $36 I think she said. It is not inexpensive without it, but still a good place to go. No market to table in Boynton which really doesn't have much to recommend in general. There is another place in Delray (DIG) that would sort of fit this criteria, but I haven't been personally so can't speak to it's chow-worthiness.

                                  Note to CF, the rissoto cake is good. Surprisingly, so was the chicken which I had just a few weeks ago and is something I don't ordinarily order in a restaurant.

                                  1. re: zook
                                    CFByrne Jan 20, 2012 02:25 PM

                                    Zook, thanks for the tips. I normally don't get chicken ("yardbird") either - but it did catch my eye, as described on the menu.

                                    Anything else you've had lately of special note? You've got 45 minutes! ;-)

                                    1. re: zook
                                      CFByrne Jan 22, 2012 07:53 AM

                                      BTW there's basically 4 dining areas.

                                      The outdoor front patio. In the cooler weather now, and with it dark out, it's a very nice spot. A little close to the street traffic but it's nothing like on The Ave.

                                      The front room. I'd consider this the "main" room. If you're a foodie you might like this as you'll likely have a good view of the open ktichen.

                                      The back room. I'm not crazy about this spot. You walk through a narrow passageway from the front, and then you're back here. It's pretty small, there's a lot of traffic right in the middle, and I found it loud.

                                      The back outdoor patio. I have not dined here but I've wandered back there and it looks very nice, again, especially at this time of year.

                                      When you make a res they won't guarantee a room - but you can make a request. They'll call you to confirm the day of your dinner, and I'd reiterate it then.

                                      1. re: CFByrne
                                        i
                                        itsacrazyasian Feb 18, 2012 03:02 PM

                                        The back patio/bar is wonderful on a cool summer night.

                                        1. re: CFByrne
                                          erica Mar 2, 2012 09:11 AM

                                          CFByrne: Many thanks for steering me to what turned out to be an excellent restaurant choice that pleased both this food-obsessed New Yorker and the "we don't like gourmet restaurants" Florida relatives.

                                          Four of us had an excellent weeknight dinner on the front patio (inner room was very noisy even early on a Tuesday night). We began with two shared appetizers: Goat Cheese Croquettes were good enough but the Pork Belly chunks in lettuce wraps was a standout; the generously sized portion was served with a very tasty Asian-spiced slaw.

                                          Orecchiette with "spring" rapini was praised by all of us. Mahi Mahi was perfectly cooked and served with lovely light beans and greens. (Sorry, too busy talking to take notes). Relative #1 was wowed by the chicken under a brick, topped with a mascarpone polenta, while Relative #2 aka "I never like anything in these gourmet places" could not stop raving about the hefty double pork chop, and I was wowed enough by the accompanying red cabbage to wish I had asked for details about its preparation.

                                          Desserts again very good: A Key Lime brulee confection and an apple crostata topped with superb maple gelato.

                                          The multi-grain bread from Old School Bakery deserves special mention, as does the accompanying Zoe olive oil.

                                          All in all, a most pleasant dinner that totalled $207 for 4 diners before tip and included 2 glasses of wine from the wide-ranging list, and a vodka cocktail.

                                          1. re: erica
                                            CFByrne Mar 4, 2012 04:32 AM

                                            It's a little bit scary knowing a group of folks you don't even know are essentially putting their evening... not to mention a good amount of cash... in your hands.

                                            So I'm glad you and your group enjoyed Max's, Erica.

                                            I love this line and I think it sums things up perfectly: "pleased both this food-obsessed New Yorker and the "we don't like gourmet restaurants" Florida relatives."

                                            Look for my questions on the NYC board for you next time I'm headed up!

                                            1. re: CFByrne
                                              erica Mar 4, 2012 04:41 AM

                                              Will do!

                                              Off topic but I will also mention that we had a good enough meal at a Peruvian restaurant in Lantana: Victoria's. The standout was, of all things, the Pollo Milanese. We also had a decent grouper with a spinach/basil pesto, and a good skirt steak. Very good alfajores to take away (in a jar on the counter). They will be turning the place into a pollo a la brasa spot in a few months and moving the main restaurant to a larger location.

                                              http://bestof.voiceplaces.com/broward...

                                              And here I thought that I was a pro at dodging the carts nipping at my ankles at Manhattan's Broadway Fairway. Well I was no match for the scrum at "The Boy's" market on Military, discussed on another thread here. No match at all! What a scene! But certainly a great alternative to the plastic-wrapped produce at Publix. I would be a regular there if I lived in the area. Must be quite good when more local produce is in season.

                                              1. re: erica
                                                CFByrne Mar 4, 2012 05:16 AM

                                                I made the mistake of visiting Eately on a Saturday afternoon (oops) in mid-December (double oops). What a madhouse!

                                                Fun, perhaps overpriced, but it was a good kind of madhouse. Sort of like the Boys.

                                                1. re: CFByrne
                                                  OysterHo Mar 6, 2012 05:29 AM

                                                  What is Eately? I must make sure to avoid it if it's like the Boys.

                                                  1. re: OysterHo
                                                    erica Mar 6, 2012 08:04 AM

                                                    Eataly is a fabulous food emporium from Turin, Italy, that opened a branch in NYC about 2 years or so ago. They sell all sorts of mostly imported, Italian food and food-related products, and there are several restaurants within the vast premises on West 23rd Street. While many of the products can be had for better prices elsewhere in the city, it is convenient to have the vast range of items within one space. It is perpetually jammed with shoppers and gawkers. From the looks of things, I think it must be running neck and neck with the Empire State building on the itineraries of many visitors to the city.

                                                    http://eatalyny.com/

                                                    The original Eataly seems to have inspired many imitators, including one that we visited in City Place, West Palm Beach called Italy Fast Food.

                                                2. re: erica
                                                  s
                                                  smartie Mar 4, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                  Lol the Boys is a scary place especially around Rosh Hashanah time. You need full hockey protection to go there.

                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                    erica Mar 5, 2012 03:50 AM

                                                    I cannot even begin to imagine what the place must be like before the holidays. The crowds were heaving around 4pm but then I returned a few days later close to 9am and it was the same scene! Bumper cars with laden shopping carts!

                                                    How is that bakery down the strip, next to "The Girls?"

                                                    1. re: erica
                                                      s
                                                      smartie Mar 5, 2012 02:51 PM

                                                      hmm the bakery must be new, have not noticed it, will try to check it out

                                                      1. re: smartie
                                                        erica Mar 6, 2012 04:29 AM

                                                        I think it may have some connection to "the Girls," as I saw the same colored-sprinkle-topped cupcakes at both places. What attracted me were the key lime pies but they looked as if they had a full range of sweet pastries, cookies, etc.

                                                3. re: CFByrne
                                                  j
                                                  JGraw May 24, 2012 09:50 PM

                                                  CF - The recommendation for Max's Harvest was great - we love this restaurant and go frequently. My interest in the Max Group restaurants led me to Assaggio del Forno recently - the most recent addition to the group. We loved it - have you been yet?

                                      2. CFByrne Mar 3, 2013 07:51 AM

                                        BTW this news is old but jic...

                                        Chef Chris Miracolo has left (on good terms) to help open "S3" on the beach in Ft Laud.

                                        It's a new venture from Boulukos / Petrillo. Miracolo worked with them at Himmarshee Grill, and I believe before that, they were all at the original Mark's Place (Milatello) on Las Olas.

                                        Not sure but *I think* I heard Max's "group" Exec Chef Patrick Broadhead is back during transition to new chef at Harvest.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: CFByrne
                                          erica Mar 3, 2013 08:37 AM

                                          Thanks for that. When did the changeover take place?

                                          1. re: erica
                                            CFByrne Mar 3, 2013 08:51 AM

                                            I think Chris's last day was Sunday Feb 17.

                                            And BTW, if you go back and happen to run into Chef Patrick, ask about this dish (one of my favs):

                                            Harvest "Moqueca" - Clams, Scallops, White Fish, Rock Shrimp, Tomato, Rice, Onion, Garlic, Annatto, Chile, Cilantro, Lime

                                            I believe it is an old recipe from his Brazilian wife's family. Really good.

                                            Also, this article has full details on the personnel changes

                                            http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cle...

                                        2. CFByrne Feb 8, 2014 12:35 AM

                                          Might be time to revisit... New Exec Chef...

                                          "Chef Eric Baker comes with quite a résumé, one that includes stints at Café Boulud and Fort Lauderdale’s W Hotel and Steak 954. Before that, the chef, trained at L’Ecole Ritz Escoffier, lived in Paris, where he worked at the acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Restaurant Market and at the Michelin-starred L’Espadon at the Ritz Hotel Paris under the celebrated chef Michel Roth."

                                          http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cle...

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