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Dublin Restaurant Report: Chez Max
When I first moved to Dublin in 2007, friends who were also interested in food always asked me, ‘have you been to Chez Max yet?’ This French brasserie is located just outside of Dublin Castle, and for some reason, it always went under my radar when I was planning a night out.
Then, they opened another brasserie, also called Chez Max, on Baggot Street near my apartment. I walk by this restaurant almost every day on my walk into town, and the chalkboard is full of temptations. One night recently when I didn’t feel like cooking, I decided to finally give Chez Max a try.
It was a Thursday night at 9pm, and the entire restaurant was full. I hadn’t made a reservation, and was hoping that by 9pm some of the early 7pm tables would be available. Don’t make the same mistake as me – book a table ahead of time.
Luckily, the host offered us a small table in the bar area. I was first impressed by the menu: a newspaper format with French headlines and ads took me back to the streets of Paris. The menu is simple at its core – with traditional French dishes that are a real pleaser on a chilly night.
I started with the French Onion soup (I can never resist a good French Onion Soup – who doesn’t love Gruyère?!) Since this appetizer can be more like a meal – I opted for a lighter main dish of seared halibut over creamy leeks and a potato gratin (ok, light by French standards!) My dinner-date opted for seared venison, with a deliciously-sweet balsamic reduction.
Chez Max is the type of restaurant to linger over a meal. Go ahead and ask the helpful staff for a recommendation from the wine list, and sit back and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. Fellow diners were dressed stylishly, but this restaurant lacks the stuffy nature of a white-linen type restaurant. On a night where I wanted something special, without all the fuss, Chez Max hit the spot.
To complete this splurge, we ordered a classic crème brulée and glass of Muscat to wash it down. Who says you have to go to France to find authentic flavors?
Address: 133 Baggot Street, Dublin 2. (map)
Photo Credit: Jessica Colley
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