Rejoice! Max’s Wine Dive is no longer exclusively for winos! With the addition of a cocktail menu, the popular Uptown spot will launch an updated menu to compliment its signature fried chicken. I had the pleasure of joining MWD for a media preview of the new menu.
Wins: Of the three cocktails served, The Deep L was by far my favorite. Made with gin, elderflower, and AP&L Pale Ale, this cocktail tastes like a refreshing spiked summer beer (which fooled me since it was 40 degrees out). From the appetizers, the Deviled Eggs with candied bacon were amazing – so much so, our end of the table asked for a platter of them for seconds. That said, it’s nearly 2016 and deviled eggs have been done by any-and-everyone in Dallas – so, points lost for originality. The Crab Hushpuppy was also one of the high notes – perfectly fried golden with a tasty cajun remoulade. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the Catfish Ponchartrain, a classic cajun dish typically made with trout. I appreciated the hint of fishiness that the catfish added to the creamy creole sauce.
Misses: Of the three cocktails served, the Strawberry Bourbon Cobbler proved it was just a name. Tasting primarily of watered-down bourbon, I missed the strawberry and/or the cobbler completely. Of the appetizers, the trendy gluten-free Mushroom Toast was dry and lacked salt, a sentiment that was echoed by my end of the table. That said, the sauté of mushrooms that topped the “toast” was delicious. The first course, Maple-glazed Pork Belly w/ Bourbon-Chipotle Sweet Potato Puree, was just too damn sweet. The dish was completely lacking chipotle and needed an acid or smokiness to cut the extreme sweetness of the maple and sweet potato puree. Lastly, the Vegetarian Jambalaya had me totally missing traditional jambalaya. The overall flavor was one-note, but so was the texture. The dish contained tofu, which felt like it was added just because it was vegetarian. It had the same texture as the rice – so the overall composition of the dish was just mush.
Overall, Max’s Wine Dive is on the right track. Chef Sean Hill brings with him 20 years of experience and the local flavors from his childhood growing up on a farm in Arkansas. “MAX’s Wine Dive is a perfect blend of the Southern home cooking of my childhood – which led me to become a chef – and other cuisines I’ve learned in my 20 years in the business,” said Hill. “We’ve also added new desserts and a cocktail menu that offers fresh takes on the classics.”