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Choco-holics unite at the new Max Brenner

For those who go through the motions of appetizers and entrees just to get to the sweet stuff, welcome to Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man.

For those who go through the motions of appetizers and entrees just to get to the sweet stuff, welcome to Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man, the chain establishment with a chocolate fixation. It’s a wacky — though not entirely novel — concept. Nearby Finale also centers the dining experience on the sweet course, not the savory.

Max’s Boston is a loud, casual place with a woody tavern-like interior featuring lots of chocolate ephemera. Think Willy Wonka meets “Cheers.”

It seems that people go to nibble rather than eat dinner, despite a full menu stocked with sliders, sandwiches, salads — a beautifully fresh South of the Border avocado salad ($13.95) had perfectly ripe avocados paired with jalapeno and dressed with a cilantro and lime vinaigrette — and tasty adult entrees like black sesame salmon with a piquant veggie stir-fry ($17.95) and Baja fish tacos with mango slaw ($12.25). The chocolate theme occasionally spills over to the savories: beer-battered Vidalia onion rings with a chocolate ranch sauce ($6.95) scored high points, but the spinach and mushroom side dish arriving alongside dessert highlighted staffing hiccups.

OK, so what about dessert then? It’s all about chocolate: crepes, cake, cookies, waffles, fondue, ice cream and other stuff to play with. Playful: that’s Max’s. It’s fun and frivolous food in today’s very serious dining world.

Sweet treats

Is there a more perfect way to end a meal, or miss it altogether, than popping into Max’s choc shop, just inside the restaurant? Stock up on chocolate bon bons with bon mots, terroir-oriented chocolate, Max’s special hot choc hug mugs (shaped for cupping your hands around as if in prayer to the great bean) and other paraphernalia, like cocoa body lotion, of course.

 
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