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Max Stein's (ex-Hartwell House) in Lexington just opened


Restaurants & Bars

Max Stein's (ex-Hartwell House) in Lexington just opened

Tir na nOg | May 5, 2006 11:53 PM

Noticed a couple of posts below about the new Max Stein's in Lexington (94 Hartwell Avenue, on the left, just before you get to Hanscom Air Force Base).

This is the former "Hartwell House", a place that never really lived up to its billing.

They've been working on an extensive remodel for the past 7 months (!), and have done a great job. Very elegant, with dark wood and leather booths, fitting in with the "1940/50's supper club" ambience they claim to be aiming for. A bit on the dark side for my taste. Capital Grille meets Locke Ober, maybe.

They opened just this past Monday, and we stopped in a couple of times for after-work drinks, but haven't tried dinner yet. A small half-ellipse of a bar seats ~15, with 3 bartenders, but they are apparently planning another bar upstairs (along with two meeting rooms). The dinner menu looks good, but conservative. They will apparently open next month for lunch.

Had a chance this evening to chat with one of the managing partners, Richard, who kindly comped us a few apps (spicy fried calamari, crab cakes and escargot, all of which were good). As I gather, there is a connection with the owners of Capital Grille, but this is a completely separate entity.

Most notably, they have an outstanding wine list (the attractive glass-encased wine cellar is next to the entrance), with extensive 1st growth Bordeaux verticals and something like 600 different bottles (from $6/glass for the ubiquitous ghastly Berringer White Zinfandel to $18,000 for a Jeroboam of Lafite Rothschild that is probably more for show than drinking). Again, conservative, but high quality. I need more time to stare at the wine list, but I’d like to see more adventuresome choices in the lower price brackets. It’s so easy to have Lafite-this, and d’Yquem-that if you want to impress, but it is just too easy to write a wine list like that. But, as it stands, it should be a pretty easy Wine Spectator award winner.

Had a nice martini, by the way.



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