MAX’s Wine Dive, Chicago
I’m taking a short break from recapping our Alaskan cruise to tell you about a great new restaurant and wine bar that just opened in Wicker Park called MAX’s Wine Dive. MAX’s originated in Texas and now has locations in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. They’ve also recently opened a new location in Atlanta, this location in Chicago, and are set to open in Denver soon. The goal of MAX’s is to bring gourmet comfort food along with a carefully curated selection of wines to diners in a “down-to-earth, rock ‘n roll” style. Throw in their motto of “Fried Chicken and Champagne?…Why The Hell Not?!” and I’m already sold!
The credit for finding MAX’s goes to my friend (and also designer of this beautiful blog), Laura, who I met here for dinner on a Monday night. We started with a refreshing (and very reasonably priced) bottle of sparkling Rosé and an order of Nacho Mama’s Oysters – fried Gulf Coast oysters on wonton “chips” with garlic aioli, habanero salsa and cilantro. Both stellar choices and a great preview of what was to come!
It was nearly impossible to narrow down our picks but we finally settled on several other delicious dishes to share. They all came out in pretty quick succession; first up were the Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers – pulled pork and cotija stuffed, topped with chipotle aioli and cilantro chimichurri. They were just as great as they sound. We also had a small order of the Max ‘n Cheese – cavatappi pasta in a truffle cream sauce with provolone, Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The sauce was pretty thick and I didn’t get as much truffle flavor as I would’ve liked, but I’m still a fan. This would be the perfect bowl of comfort in the cold winter months!
Next up we had the Famous Southern Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and chipotle honey. The fried chicken was very good, especially after a hearty dip in the chipotle honey. Sadly the mashed potatoes were very underwhelming but the greens were full of flavor and totally made up for them.
We also had the Fried Brie with raspberry-chipotle coulis and cilantro salad from their seasonal menu. It was So.Good. – an easy favorite for both of us! Think of it as one big fried mozzarella stick but with creamy brie inside and a sweet but spicy sauce beneath. I think this needs to find it’s way to permanent menu status because I’ll definitely be wanting more when I return.
At this point we were stuffed (as usual) but I’m just not the person who says no to dessert. They had two options and we went for the pots de crème infused with basil, topped with a rhubarb compote, and served with homemade sugar cookies. I’ve seen a few desserts lately that include basil in the list of ingredients and that just never sounded appealing to me. Our server told us that this was the lighter of the two so we went for it despite my hesitation. I am so glad we did because this was delicious! It was indeed a very light, refreshing dessert and the basil flavor was perfect. I’ll be keeping my eye out for basil on the dessert menu from now on!
After one last glass of wine it was time to roll ourselves out and call it a night. I am definitely a big fan of MAX’s Wine Dive and look forward to returning, who wants to join me?!
MAX’s Wine Dive is located at 1482 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.