If you’ve tried the famous fried chicken at Max's Wine Dive for dinner, you know that portion control isn’t a part of the company's lingo. As a chain of eight restaurants with only two locations outside of Texas, Max's isn't messing around when it comes to the idea that everything’s bigger in Texas; there's no attempt to amend the dishes for Colorado sized-stomachs. But we’re not complaining — because there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing at brunch time.
Max’s brunch hasn’t been highly publicized yet so you’ll likely have the place all to yourself on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Even more so during the abridged Monday version from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., an ideal meal for easing into the week. The jukebox is free so you can set your own mood and drown out the construction noise from across the street. As an added bonus, there’s a neighborhood hookup for 15% off food if you mention you live in the area.
Operating under the mantra that “champagne improves the orange,” a quote Max's attributes to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the bar certainly doesn’t skimp on the morning cocktails. Since wine is the name of the game here, the extensive mimosa list understandably steals the show, but there are also Bloody Marys available for those in need and a house-made frozen sangria that packs quite a punch (available by the glass or carafe). You’ll have a hard time deciding between beer-mosas made with Avery White Rascal, “Max’d Out 'Mosas" with cava, “Mimosas to the Max” with sparkling champagne or high end bubbles, or the more unique Flow-Mosas, made with a rotating selection of pressed fruit juices from Flow Juice Bar next door.
If you’re craving that signature finger lickin’ chicken, you can get a full plate for breakfast, or a brunch variation with wings and beignets. Staying away from the feathered friends, though, I opted for the half portion of s’mores French toast (still large enough to feed an army) and a fried egg sandwich, which was also a man-sized meal. The French toast, a brioche soaked in custard and coated in Nutella and graham cracker crumbles, still somehow managed to feel light and airy despite all the tasty morsels crammed in. It was one of the most decadently delightful starters I’ve had in a while. A tower of house-made marshmallow rose alongside the toast; the sugary topping tasted more like a cross between whipped cream and fluffernutter, easily spreadable with more than enough to apply generously.
I had barely made a dent in the French toast when the fried egg sandwich, or “man-wich”, arrived. I knew it’d be massive (the menu promised three eggs in the sandwich), but the slices of sourdough could’ve been mistaken for Texas Toast, since they were at least twice the thickness of normal sandwich bread. Glistening with aioli and beckoning with the intoxicating aroma of black truffles, the sandwich taunted me with a knife harpooned in its center. I didn’t exactly know how to cut into it without knocking over the Jenga-style side of chips crowding the plate. A few soldiers, generously dusted with a coating of thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and plenty more truffle oil, were sacrificed in the process of trying to get a bite of the sandwich. Not to be outdone, a side of homemade pickles — cucumber and jalapeño — proved to be the shining star on the plate. I could have breakfasted on nothing but these deliciously tangy bites bathed in a secret house brine, neither overly sweet nor spicy.
Once I finally got a utensil in the main course, one of the three eggs oozed a satisfying river of yolk over the bacon, Gruyere, lettuce, and tomato slices, ensuring this meal would be plenty messy. Using the bread to sop up any remaining toppings, I got just a few bites in before asking for a box. I'm going to need to work on Texas-sizing my appetite before I make another visit to Max's for brunch.
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