Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Taste: Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

By: Lauren Rosalanko

Last night I had the best experience for dinner that I have had in a long time. That's right I went to Max Brenner Chocolate Bar in Bethesda, MD and decided to skip dinner to test out the chocolate concoctions the restaurant had to offer (what better way to start the weekend than have dessert for dinner?). Chocolate is one of my favorite sweets and as expected Max Brenner did not disappoint! Walking into the Chocolate Bar I felt like a child walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory, with fabulous chocolate-colored decor, vats of chocolate, and pipes that said 100% pure chocolate. The restaurant is whimsical, yet luxurious. I was already in heaven and I had not even tried the food or drink.

To start I order the Mexican Spicy Hot Chocolate spiked with chili, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. I loved the hot chocolate because while it was spicy it did not take away from the overall chocolate flavor or overwhelm my taste buds. With each hot chocolate option you can customize your drink one step further by ordering dark, milk or white chocolate, of course I chose dark which is always my favorite! The servers were eager to explain any of the dishes and also were patient when I could not decide on what to order.

The decision making was the hardest part because I wanted to try everything from fondue to ice cream sundaes to crepes and waffles, but I ended up to deciding to test the Strawberry Hazelnut Crepe Brûlée accompanied by a small chocolate ganache flask, vanilla bean ice cream and "crunchy bits" covered in chocolate. The crepe was better than anyone I had tried before, probably because of its large size and unique accompaniments.

My favorite dish of the night had to be the Chocolate Chunks Pizza, which customers can order by the slice, half or whole pizza. Made with real pizza dough and covered in milk and white chocolate the pizza is topped with perfectly toasted marshmallows. I was impressed by the creativity and the flavor! I was surprised to hear that it was actual pizza dough and not a sweeter version of dough. The pairing of a more savory base complemented the sugar overload between the marshmallows and chocolate. If you could get one item off the menu I would strongly suggest the pizza!

By that time I had reached my limit and even with sweet tooth as large as mine I think that I had met my match and was pleasantly stuffed. However, I did eye someone ordering the large Melting S'mores Sundae complete with chocolate ice cream, marshmallow and peanut butter sauce, chocolate chunks and whipped cream. Clearly I need to make another trip up to Bethesda soon so I can get my chocolate fix and ensure to test out all of the menu items. Whether you want to stop by a nice dessert spot, just want a good cup of hot chocolate, or are a chocolate addict such as myself the trip to Max Brenner is worth it for some quality and extremely unique chocolate treats.

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