841 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-0030

I have to be blunt. I find Max Brenner's tagline "Chocolate by the Bald Man" irritating, to say the least. First, it presumes that I know who "the Bald Man" is (I don't, but somehow I doubt it's Kojak) and that he doesn't normally do chocolate, so I should ready myself for a treat. Second, it presumes that anyone would think that having a bald chef could possibly matter to their dining experience. It doesn't. The logo used to be "Chocolate Is Good For You", but some pain-in-the-ass, I'm-a-better-mom-than-you types, wringing their hands sobbing "Think of the children!" probably killed that one.

Anyway, pet peeves about dumb subheaders aside, Max Brenner's is one of the better dessert places around, especially if you're looking for a certain party vibe. And yeah, yeah. They have food too. Who cares? No ones going here for the chicken fingers.

Myself, D, and two friends wound up here one Saturday evening pretty close to midnight and still had to wait a half hour for a table. That gives you an idea of how packed this place gets. And it ain't small. If you don't want to wait for a long time on a weekend, you can either be very lucky or show up at 1am.

Chocolate, obviously, is the name of the game here. The front entrance area is a chocolate store with big stirring chocolate vats and shelves of chocolate candy. You can buy some to nosh on while you wait for your table, but I don't suggest you fill up on junk food before dessert.

We were all craving something desserty, having bounced across the city all night long, from Queens to Manhattan, tapas place to wine bar. Now we wanted sweet. And we wanted liquor. Max Brenner fit the bill as a dessert place that I knew also served drinks.

Speaking of which, the cocktail list was the first thing I looked for. And sweet desserts mean sweet cocktails. Unless you were like someone at our table and decide to order, of all things, a Pinot Noir. Don't ask me the vineyard. That particular choice of hooch aside, the rest of our drinks were all pretty damn good. I ordered a Brazilian Mocha Martini, which is roughly the closest thing you can get to a melted alcoholic chocolate bar without marinating a Hersey bar in a bowl of vodka. D got the Caribbean Mood Martini, an orange-mango screwdriver on steroids. And one of her friends picked out the Strawberry Mojito. Ahh... when you marry the deliciousness of a strawberry to the deliciousness of a mojito, you know you're in for something good.

We nursed these guys until our desserts came. And when they did, my God were they rich.

My entree, if you can really call it that, was the Munchies Waffles, two four inch waffles coated in whipped cream, topped with a scoop of vanilla and dark chocolate, candied hazelnuts, crunchy chocolate wafer balls and warm chocolate syrup. I'm a huge fan of waffles. I grew up on waffles. In fact, I was eating waffles way before I even tasted pancake. These were some good waffles. My only suggestion (and it's not a complaint) is that they serve this dish with maple syrup (not that fake Aunt Jemima crap). I followed it up with half of a Chocolate Pizza with Peanut Butter. Cookie-like dough, topped in chocolate syrup, marshmallow, candied hazelnuts and chocolate chunks. Seriously, this is enough for two provided you order nothing else. It's that heavy and sweet. Don't get me wrong, it tastes good. But, divided among four people, it still wasn't finished.

D chose the Eskimo Cone, two scoops of ice cream in a crispy sugared waffle cone, served with warm chocolate sauce, crunchy wafer balls and candied hazelnut. This is basically an ice cream cone in a stand. Yummy, for sure, but not something you can't get somewhere else. We also ordered a Hazelnut Cream Crepe, which I liked a lot. Actually, I don't think I've ever actually disliked anything here. The hazelnut crepe came stuffed with chocolate and hazelnut creama, toppped with ice cream, toffee coated banana, vanilla sauce and crunchy hazelnut bits. Finally came the Max's Three Layer Chocolate Concoction with Cookies and Peanut Butter. It is just like it sounds, but served in a beaker: chocolate cream, Oreo cookies, peanut butter, white chocolate and whipped cream. Plus, it came with biscotti. Basically, if you wanted to toss your week of eating salads and miso soup for lunch down the toilet, this is the way to go. I didn't taste it, but I'm sure it was good. How could it be bad?

Our five desserts and three cocktails and a pinot noir came to $110 with tax and tip.

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