There’s some cray-cray shiz going down in the kitchen at Max’s Wine Dive. Perhaps Chef Patrick Russell had partaken of too much vino himself before coming up with his fall menu.
But whatever fueled his creative inspiration, he better keep it up. Because sometimes, insanity equals genius. We haven’t always loved everything at Max’s, but there’s much to adore among the seasonal selections that thrilled our taste buds as much as they fueled our imagination.
Start with chicken-fried brussels sprouts, one half served with port-glazed onions and ham vinegar for dipping, the other portion placed on top of spicy Romesco sauce and grated Parmesan. Crispy and bursting with flavor, even sprouts haters will likely cram their mouths full of these non-greasy morsels of veggie bliss.
Another standout is the pumpkin and squash Mezzaluna (above), folded ravioli pockets loaded with sautéed pumpkin, pepitas and ham before being ladled with sage butter sauce for a rich complexity that thankfully isn’t as rich and overpowering as it sounds on paper.
But our favorite thing on the menu has got to be the one dish whose description made us laugh out loud: peanut butter and jelly egg rolls. OK, that on its own isn’t terribly offbeat, but stick with us. Inside the flaky wrapper you’ll find a medley of diced veal sweetbreads and peanut butter accompanied by local grape jelly sweet and sour sauce. Yes, your favorite childhood lunch has been forever changed thanks to the addition of baby-calf organ meat.
True confessions, we actually loved this dish. A lot. Especially since the State Fair ends Sunday and we were wondering where we’d go to find Deep Fried Crazy well into winter.
And now you know, too.
Max’s Wine Dive
Fall Chef’s Menu now available