Max's Wine Dive is located in downtown Austin and combines classy dining with comfort home cooking. Never thought of pairing champagne with fried chicken? That's what Max's is all about.
Address: 207 San Jacinto Blvd.
Phone: (512) 904-0105
Hours: Mon-Weds from 4 p.m.-midnight; Thurs: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri & Sat: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Happy hour: Mon-Thurs from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.; Fri & Sat: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Reverse happy hour (food discounts only): Mon-Weds from 10 p.m.-12 pm.; Thurs-Sat from midnight-2 a.m.
Below the restaurant is Max’s Underground, a private basement that was once an old warehouse. It contains 2,100 square feet of chic space, making it a prime spot for private parties and events. There are several pillars with wine-bottle light sconces, in addition to colorful red carpet and walls smattered with incredible art by local artists.
All wines are available by the glass with a two-glass minimum. All wines at Max’s are also available for retail purchase, so if you enjoy the glass you have, you can go home with a bottle. Max’s fits a variety of budgets; bottles here range from $25 to $600. They have wine tastings every Saturday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Rather than being organized by appetizers and entrees, the ever-changing menu is divided by small dishes and large dishes. According to my waiter, the most popular small dishes include the pork belly, max & cheese (pasta tossed in truffle cream and a blend of cheeses), and fried chicken. The waiter said he was from Mississippi and could assure us the fried chicken “is legit.”
Another very popular dish is the Kobe beef burger, which was recently ranked the 16th best burger in the state by Texas Monthly magazine. My guest ordered the burger, which is rich and served with melted brie on a buttery bun. She said, "It was like eating a burger dessert.”
I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, which was thick and full of a variety of gooey cheese with some tomato and mild peppers thrown in. It was served alongside a shot glass of tomato soup and cheese-sprinkled chips. The soup was a bit bland, but it was easily overlooked due to how rich and flavorful the sandwich was.
My guest and I also shared the pan boraccho, also called Max’s famous “drunk bread,” which is like a casserole. It consists of torn bread tossed with garlic and onions and then soaked in a white wine custard before being baked with cheese. We were warned that it’s not for everybody, but it was warm, gooey, and definitely for us.
If for some reason that dessert doesn’t appeal, you can also order old-school favorites such as Apple Brown Betty, the cheesecake, or funnel cake.
While we were there for dinner and dessert, we learned that you can come in for all-you-can-eat fried chicken mimosas for brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Please note that while this review is fully objective, the meal was complimentary.