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Apr 28, 2013 11:22 PM

The Máximo Bistrot Brouhaha

Máximo Bistrot is a relatively new and highly regarded restaurant in the Roma colonia of Mexico City.

So here's my understanding:

On Friday, the daughter of the titular of PROFECO (consumer protection agency) was apparently unable to get the sidewalk table that she wanted at the restaurant, in the timeframe she wanted (having had no previous reservations), and so proceeded to threaten the restaurant with her father's position and power to shut the restaurant down. Hours later PROFECO investigators arrived and began slapping those large "Clausurado" seals over the restaurant, sealing it off even as patrons were still finishing their meals inside.

This has turned into a social media sh**storm, such that even Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has gotten involved.

Very badly played I would say of Andrea Benitez and her father, Humberto Benitez Treviño of PROFECO. And very well played, Máximo Bistrot.

Andrea Benitez deleted the relevant tweets on Twitter and her antagonistic "tips" on Foursquare. And now her Twitter account is completely blocked off, open only to followers.

Unfortunately this means it's only going to be that much harder to get a table at Máximo. But good for the owners, Eduardio Garcia and Gabriela Lopez Cruz. Very well played. Way to stick it to the a-holes in this era of social media. Bravo.

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    1. It may be deserved, but it may be more over-reacting, but it appears she cost her daddy his job:

      5 Replies
      1. re: foodeye

        I think it's fascinating how the proliferation of mobile devices and social media are changing things in Mexico, when the political process has failed. The PROFECO agents were going to shut the place down -- until the patrons started taking pictures of them with their phones. They got skittish and fled. They knew they were on weak ground.

        Lady Profeco felt secure in ordering daddy to shut the place down, and now thanks to social media the *president* of the nation has fired her daddy.

        Just wow.

        Unfortunately the Miami Herald article above requires registration, so I dug up this LA Times article:

        ETA: Where do you see overreacting? The daughter of the head of PROFECO didn't get her table, and shortly after PROFECO agents are trying to shut the place down. Firing her father is hardly an overreaction. I think there's a word for this -- yes, it's "justice".

        1. re: Soul Vole

          FWIW. . .I didn't have to register to read the piece in the Miami Herald

          1. re: DiningDiva

            No idea. They continue to throw up a registration wall against me. "Welcome to the registration system.
            For free access to an unlimited number of articles, you must register on".

            No thank you, and why don't you go...

            1. re: Soul Vole

              I accessed it from my tablet and not my regular computer, I wonder if that makes any difference. It's not a newspaper I read, so I'm pretty confident that I didn't register sometime in the dim past. Too bad you couldn't get in, they had sidebar links to several other articles, mostly about the abuses of the "juniors" and the the affect that social media was having. In any event, as you noted above, it's interesting and actually somewhat amusing that social media is doing what Mexico has refused to do for so long.

          2. re: Soul Vole

            My comment re overreating refered to the spoiled daughter's response to not getting the best table in the house, with no reservation, and her father sending out the crew to shut it down, and possibly also the resultant firing of someone who made one very public error, which may not have been reflective of his general competence, but perhaps it was....

        2. Last night I wrote a long reply to this thread--and it didn't post, just disappeared into the ethers. Ugh. I'll try again.

          I also do not see any exaggeration in what happened at Máximo Bistrot. The spoiled brat daughter of a government official showed up with no reservation and demanded special treatment. The restaurant wisely said, "You'll be seated when there is a table available." The foolish girl went nuts, and Mexico's politicos do not take kindly to that. She and her father have now paid the price: her public ridicule and his loss of work. I suspect Daddy wishes they had put the 'clausurado' (closed by the government) tape across his daughter's mouth.

          But what about the restaurant? Is it worth the brouhaha? IMHO, you betcha. Six friends and I had dinner there on Tuesday night (May 14). Yes, we had a reservation--and the place was packed to the max.

          From starters to dessert, our meal was stellar. Fresh and delicious bread came with a dish of smooth, silky, eggplant ash dip to accompany mezcal (me), tequila (my wife), an artisanal beer (one companion), and other drinks--as well as mineral water all around. We ordered a large number of dishes to share. Starters included cold artichoke hearts with fresh fava beans, two plates of marvelous hamachi, and a couple of things that I don't remember--not that they were forgettable, I'm just old. Mains included huachinango (really good), roast chicken (that too), frog legs (jump for joy), and hangar steak (perfectly seared, perfectly just-the medium-side of rare). There might have been other mains... Dessert: a still-hot, silky chocolate sortofa souffle/cake, a bowl of dead ripe strawberries with house-made vanilla ice cream, a big scoop of raspberry sorbet--and again, something else that escapes me. Espresso, cappuchino, and American-style coffee were all excellent. Would we go back? ASAP, this time during the day to take photos. I'll make notes, next time, and report back.

          Meantime, if you're going to be in the DF any time soon, put Máximo Bistrot at the top of your gotta-go-there list. And remember: Daddy says, reservations a must.


          3 Replies
          1. re: cristina

            Geez, now I'm hungry just reading that...

            1. re: cristina

              I forgot (lord, I AM old) the rest of the story: the bill.

              So there were seven of us, lots and lots of food, lots of drinks: the cost (are you ready?) was approximately 460 pesos per person--about the equivalent of $37USD each, at today's exchange rate. Not bad at all!

              1. re: cristina

                > I suspect Daddy wishes they had put the 'clausurado' (closed by the government) tape across his daughter's mouth.

                LOL! Indeed!

                I love this whole story. Everybody getting their just desserts (no pun intended).

                I've said before, as have Cristina and others, Máximo is a gem. I'm just going to miss the times when I could be walking in Roma and think, "Hey, I might as well stop and have a quick meal at Máximo." Without a reservation and sometimes without even a wait.

                But those tables do deserve to be packed.

              2. I had the pleasure of dining there about a month ago. I
                can't say enough good things about both the food and the service. The chef and his wife are utterly charming. I'm very much looking forward to my next trip to Mexico City so that I can return to Maximo Bistrot. (With apologies for the poor quality of the photos).

                1 Reply
                1. re: MrsPatmore

                  MrsPatmore, your photos jogged my memory, thank you. We also had the delicious caramelized carrots, plus a big bowl of perfect mussels. One of our desserts was the one that you posted in your photos--the little soufflé dish of heavenly chocolate with ice cream on the side. We would have licked the dish.