I first heard about Max & Dylan's when they were hosting a mac and cheese competition a few months ago. How could I resist a restaurant that encourages people to duke it out over the best version of the cheesey, delicious, American classic?
I finally made it to Max & Dylan's after work a few weeks ago. The restaurant is located on West Street in Downtown Crossing. You can spot it from the top of the street by its huge flag waving in the wind.
Max & Dylan's has two windows in the front of the restaurant that open to the street. In nice weather, you can practically sit on the window sill.
The first floor of the restaurant has a large, wooden bar that runs the length of the space.
I couldn't help but notice the oblong light fixtures and the patterned, silver ceiling.
We were super lucky and when we walked in, a couple was leaving one of the tables in the front window. We asked if we could have their spot and the hostess walked us right over. Jackpot!
The menus at Max & Dylan's sport a black and white, aerial shot of the city of Boston. Our waiter, who seemed to be a Boston history buff, informed us that the building is over 200 years old and that it used to be Nathaniel Hawthorne's house.
I ordered a glass of white wine sangria hoping it would come with a layer of fruit bobbing at the top, but sadly, the only garnish was a lime.
The sangria was sweet and great for a summer evening, but I now have my eye on two other drinks for my next visits, the blackberry mint margarita or the orange creamsicle martini.
The Max & Dylan's menu is packed with awesome offerings. There were so many items we wanted to try that we decided to order a few plates and share. I also noticed they have rice krispie coated French toast for Sunday brunch. I will certainly be making a return for that!
Our first plate to arrive was the steamed edamame which was dressed with srirachi-soy sauce and topped with pickled ginger and sesame seeds.
The edamame was delicious and addicting, but super messy. We kept wiping (translation = licking) our fingers from the sticky sauce!
Next up we ordered the waffle fries topped with cheddar cheese and jalapenos. I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I ordered straight up junk food in a public place, but boy was it satisfying! What is it about waffle fries that is so much better than regular fries?
As I mentioned earlier, Max & Dylan's values a great bowl of mac and cheese. As such, we felt we had to try one of their signature varieties. After much deliberation, we gambled on the spinach and artichoke mac and cheese.
The dish was cavatappi pasta with leaves of spinach, full size artichoke hearts and garlic bread crumbs expertly browned in the oven. Overall the dish was great, but the artichoke pieces were way too big. I prefer my artichokes very finely chopped.
Though we'd already eaten enough for an entire football team, we'd seen the dessert choices on the menu and felt we had to indulge. Our initial thought was that we'd order the red velvet cake, but when we saw one of the other options was a plate of three cupcakes, we decided to ask what flavors they were in case they included red velvet. Two birds with one stone!
It turned out the cupcake plate did include red velvet, along with a vanilla bean and a chocolate cupcake. The cupcakes arrived warmed and dusted with confectioner's sugar.
The red velvet cupcake was dry if you took a bite that didn't include frosting.
The chocolate cupcake had a topping much like Magic Shell that you pour over ice cream. The cake had good chocolate flavor, but was also a bit dry.
The vanilla bean cupcake tasted like the yellow cake you buy at supermarkets and the rainbow colored sprinkles on top tasted like teeny, tiny NECCO wafers.
These cupcakes were a B+ at best. Given all the great cupcake bakeries in Boston, I'd recommend skipping these and walking over to Cakeology, which is in the same neighborhood.
Before leaving Max and Dylan's we wanted to explore the rest of the space. We had no idea it was three stories high!
At the back of the bar there is a stairwell that leads to the area they call the mezzanine.
I think the mezzanine is the best part of the restaurant! The skylight lets in so much sun and I love the black and white photos of Boston on the wall.
The top floor feels like a whole other restaurant. It's a totally different vibe than the other two floors. This bar is darker and almost feels like it should be in a basement.
The food at Max and Dylan's is excellent junk food. When you feel like splurging with a group of friends, grab a table in the mezzanine and order up!
On our walk to the Park Street T stop after dinner I couldn't help but snap a picture of how beautiful the State House and the Common looked that night.
Do you have a favorite spot in Downtown Crossing?