This past weekend, business took us to West Hartford. After searching these boards for suggestions, I decided to make reservations at Max's Oyster Bar in West Hartford Centre, which, surprisingly, has not been widely posted. In fact, on some other sites, reviewers raised issues about service (citing attitude) and the quality of the food. Some said it was overpriced.
Well, I have to say we had one of our most enjoyable experiences ever. My wife decided to base her dinner on two selections from the app menu, and ordered the fried oysters as a first course, to be followed by mussels. She never got the mussels--she was so overwhelmed by the perfection of the oysters, she reordered them to be served as her main. I had the baked oysters, which were also sensational. My main course was a special of barramunde in a Mediterranean sauce, which was a light red sauce with a complex set of flavors with a background of anise. Fish was a huge filet , impeccably fresh, served with 4 or 5 cherrystone clams on the side.
Big wine list--no real cheapos, but the bottle of Franciscan cab I ordered was an excellent wine, and, considering the quality, a good value.
Nothing on the dessert menu really called out to me, I got the molten-chocolate filled beignets, which were OK, but a little austere on their own--if I were the pastry chef, I would have served them with some whipped cream on the side, which would have made them sing.
Our server was excellent--personable and attentive. No service issues where we were concerned.
I would unequivocally recommend Max's Oyster Bar, and we both agreed it is someplace we'd like to return to. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars--if the dessert had been better executed, it would have been 5.
Max's Oyster Bar
964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, CT 06107