Successfully creating fancier versions of standard bar food can be a challenge, especially in the downtown Boston area where a fast paced environment leaves little room for error. Max and Dylan’s Kitchen and Bar has managed to blend typical bar food with a classier edge making for a very interesting experience. They have taken classic standbys such as sliders, pizza, and mac & cheese and added their own twist, while also serving up an interesting array of unexpected appetizers alongside the standards.
As the founder of MassBytes and I walked into Max and Dylan’s I was surprised to see how it felt like walking into an outside patio inside a posh restaurant. The building the restaurant is in used to be a home belonging to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and some of the old architecture is still evident. The high vaulted ceiling make for a very aesthetically pleasing environment, but it can be rather loud during the busy lunch rush.
The lunch was started off with a round of drinks, a subtly mixed Dark and Stormy ($8.00), with just enough ginger to give a kick, but not overpowering.
The appetizers at Max and Dylan’s are one of the gems of this restaurant. We were recommended the Buffalo Chicken Dip ($9.50) by our server and I have to say it may be some of the best I’ve ever had. Served with flash fried tortilla chips and topped with jack cheese, it was very creamy and light, while still having that buffalo kick. This is a must if you visit Max and Dylan’s.
The Blackened Scallops ($10.50) was another win. They were crusted with a delicate orange-horseradish marmalade and seared perfectly. The scallops themselves were tender and meaty, making them one of my favorite experiences of the meal.
Two of the starters we tried were Asian inspired and did not disappoint. The Lip Searing Rare Ahi Tuna ($11.00) maintained a balance between the spicy chili oil and the citrus soy dressing that made up the sauce. The tuna was cooked to perfection with the outside seared and crispy and the inside rare and juicy. The second Asian appetizer was the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($8.50) which had a good wrapper with minced, lightly spiced shrimp inside. The spicy ponzu dipping sauce that came with them helped bring out the flavor of the dumplings.
Our first entrée, the Prosciutto Mac & Cheese ($13.00), was a unique take on a staple of classic bar fare. The dish had a variety of flavors, though the truffle oil was a little overwhelming, somewhat masking the other flavors. The cheese sauce was light but tasty. Thickly sliced fresh prosciutto gave the mac & cheese a hearty flavor that helped balance the dish. For those that may find these ingredients a bit intense, they had other variations that fell more into the traditional realm of mac & cheese.
If you aren’t too adventurous the Mini Kobe Sliders ($12.00) are a good compromise. The beef was juicy and well-cooked and was reminiscent of a lazy summer backyard barbeque. The toppings of lemon dressed greens, gouda, and balsamic onions added good texture but were overshadowed by the quality of the meat which was the centerpiece of this burger.
Our final entrée was the Beef Tenderloin Flatbread ($15.00). This was the furthest deviation from the various flatbreads and pizza you generally find. Thinly sliced tenderloin, leeks and truffle oil topped the crispy flatbread covered in mashed potatoes and a sharp cheese. There were many contrasting and strong flavors that might not make this entree for everyone but Max and Dylan’s also offers a number of other less rich flatbreads.
For dessert we shared a monstrous slice of Red Velvet Cake ($9.00), from Peach’s & Cream Bakery, which easily fed two. The cake was moist and rich and was held together with a cream cheese icing that blended well with the chocolate ganache drizzled across the whole piece.
The bottom line is that for a young professional in the downtown Boston area Max and Dylan’s is an upscale change of pace for lunch (or appetizers and drinks after work).