Went to the reopening of Max Restaurant in Sherman Oaks last night to see and taste what all the changes were about.
They had closed for two weeks to do a makeover, and they surely did. Instead of the drab colorscheme from before, now the room has a nice golden glow with touches of red and espresso, with softer lighting - none of those awful lampshades any more, nor those beads! They kept the basic floorplan, got new carpet, new tables, repainted the chairs, and added many small decorating touches, including modifying the mirror treatment on the west wall, adding blackboards for daily specials, etc., a la your favorite bistro in France.
Well, they also turned the menu upside down. They now have appetizers such as lamb tacos done with a yoghurt sauce, steamed pork buns, a house smoked salmon tartare, shrimp firecracker(truly addicting), potted chicken liver, a delicious sweet/sour beet/fennel salad, yet kept the ahi towers, but just made them smaller but now are a serving of 5!
Last night's corn soup was as delicious to eat as it was beautiful to look at.
Entrees include a succulent and superb-tasting free-range chicken breast, sensational short ribs served two ways(one being Korean), Delmonico steak, Hangar steak, Kurobota pork belly confit with honey-roasted peaches(apply topically!), as well as duck confit, a composed salmon salad with heirloom tomatoes, and as always a seared ahi that Andre and new chef Patrick Prager do sensationally. And then there is Andre's favorite Angus Burger, which competes with any in town, and medium rare is available!
Oh, forgot to mention - an oxtail-stuffed cabbage with crispy mandarin sweetbreads and sweet/sour sauce!
And Best of All - most entrees priced in high teens to low/mid twenties, while appetizers are all $10.50 or under.
Best addition of all - new beer list (Hello Diana), with a couple of trappist ales, Celebrator, a Pomme Lambic(apple) from Belgium, as well as two items from Stone Brewing Co., a Sam Smith's nut brown ale from Britain, and others from other countries.
The wine list is a work in progress but best of all is the use of Riedel glassware for both reds or whites or roses. Yeah!
American names such as Demetria, Dierberg, Paul Hobbs, Core, Stag's Leap Winery, Jordan and Silver Oak dot the list, while new additions are being made in the next week or two with some from Spain, South America, Southern France.
And they have a full-time bartender to make your favorite cocktails in the newly remodeled bar area - go in and say hello to David and have him make you a martini.
And for you dessert addicts - you might find the peach gallette enticing, or maybe the chocolate espresso souffle or the lemon tiramisu with mascarpone custard and mocha toffee crunch, or the brioche & brownie bread pudding with frangelico sauce.
As I said, truly turned everything upside down. Going back Thursday night to try some more dishes.