Tucked away in a corner of the Memorial Art Gallery, Max's location there is a hidden treasure. The space is simply lovely, with clear, bright light flowing in on even the greyest of days, and the view from the front balcony seating area overlooks the Gallery's atrium, which makes it feel even more big city--as if the Met put a restaurant in mezzanine of the Temple of Dendur. If you can find a more sophisticated yet comfy place to eat lunch in Rochester, good on you!
And, of course, the food is delicious. I am a mega-fan of Max's Tomato Bisque. I would have it delivered via IV if possible! It is bright yet rich, chunky yet not rustic, with deep flavors all topped by a swirl of some kind of olive oil that you can stir into the bisque to make it even more ridiculously good. Heaven in a cup -- or better yet, a bowl.
On a recent lunch, I paired a cup of the bisque with the oh-so-hip-dining Baby Frisee Salad: baby frisee with shitake mushrooms, bacon, poached egg, and a sherry vinaigrette. Poached egg on a salad? Oh, yes!! It's a feast for the eyes and a magical trip for the taste buds. When the yolk hits the bacon and the mushrooms, it's like a deconstructed omelette pulled together on a fork, with the lettuce adding a sharp taste and texture and the vinaigrette bringing a spark. Seriously, try this salad!
Have I mentioned the popovers, yet? No? OMG! Max's oh-so-lovely popovers accompany lunch--delivered piping hot on the inside and beautifully golden and crispy on the outside.
As an aside, I will also mention that I've eaten there with my daughter and a friend (both 9), and Max's was wonderful about getting the girls just want they wanted, which my friend and I ate more grown-up cuisine. So, don't hesitate about doing a nice "kids' adventure out at the MAG" lunch on a cold, winter day.
So, you eat a fab, big city lunch overlooking one of Rochester's cultural treasures, get amazing service and easy parking. Plus, you can zip into the MAG's fantastic gift shop on the way out ... just because, well, you're already there, right?