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Maxim

The Urban Craze
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  • The Entrée
  • The Sides/Drinks
  • The Atmosphere
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Yes, I know what you’re thinking… and no, it’s not that one.

Ahem. I’m sorry to disappoint, boys. This article is about an Asian-American restaurant…

Anyhow, moving along…

Growing up, I would often look forward to the nights when my parents would get a late night sweet tooth. Every once in a while, we’d get to go to bed real late and instead, we’d all go out in search of dessert. Sometimes we’d be craving a slice of cake, sometimes some Chinese dessert (tong sui), other times a delectable crepe… Back then, one of their favourite places was Maxim.

Maxim 
9665 Bayview Ave
Richmond Hill, ON(905) 883-4090

 

Now the Maxim we used to go to in my childhood was and actually still is located at Leslie and Finch but because the service there eventually took a nosedive, we found new places to eat. Needless to say, when my parents discovered many years later that another Maxim from the same owner had sprung up closer to our neighbourhood, we decided we had to go try. So, for my sister’s fabulous 22, we decided to drop by for a little visit.

Maxim, back in the day, was more of an elegant little patisserie and less of a full restaurant. The one we visited this time, was more of a full restaurant and less of a patisserie. I guess it’s really evolved over the past 20 or so odd years.

My first impression upon stepping in was that the restaurant was a pretty typical Chinese influenced Western cuisine kind of restaurant. The outside wasn’t much to look at, the sign was simple, but the inside was comfortable and nicely decorated. The faux leather chairs were unusually noisy, and often made a number of fart-like noises. This made for a couple of giggles and awkward mid-meal clarifications. However, all in all, nice, comfy, not snobby. The servers were very nice.

Eight of us were there that night and about half of us ordered full sets… and because this blog doesn’t need to turn into a novel, I’ll just talk about five of our meals. I ordered the escargot in the garlic sauce and the crab meat and mushroom ravioli. My sister ordered the tiger shrimp fusilli. My boyfriend ordered the seafood linguini in the wine sauce. My mother, the same dish in the tomato sauce. My dad ordered the seafood paella.

  

First off, I would say that this is not a restaurant of strong flavours and heavy dishes. If you like light dishes with quality ingredients, this is a good place to go.

I started with the escargot and it was just alright. It was slightly rubbery so I have to say that I’ve had better. Entrees ranged from $11 to $30 a dish. The crab meat and mushroom ravioli was pure deeelissshhh. The pasta was cooked just right and the sauce was light, slightly sweet and tomato-y. The mushrooms had a strong enough flavour to hold its own as a filling. The crab meat in the sauce was a good match. The asparagus on the side was perfectly done and very tender. Good stuff. I even polished off the sauce.

The tiger shrimp fusilli, according to my sister was a disappointment as it was just too bland. While the ingredients were clearly of quality, she felt the dish was generally quite tasteless and the shrimp was overdone. It was also strange that there were Chinese mushrooms in a Western dish.

Both the seafood linguinis were light and had a good amount of quality seafood on there. The seafood was perfectly cooked and it passed the not-a-rubber-band calamari test. My boyfriend wished that his sauce was a little creamier and Mom wished that the seafood had retained more of that natural seafood sweetness.

The seafood paella was actually quite delectable and once again, light and well-cooked but truthfully, I only had a bite of that so I can’t really say!

Mmm. Then came dessert time. The highlight of my childhood trips to Maxim were the magical moments when my parents would walk us up to that gigantic glass display counter filled with dozens of mouth-water desserts of every shape and size and said to us “Choose whatever you like!”. Today, we got to do the same. The child in me did a little happy dance.

For dessert we ordered the orange chocolate mousse, banana crunch, the chestnut cake and the white chocolate mousse. We all shared. The best by far was the orange chocolate mousse. The cake was light but the orange flavour and the dark chocolate flavour was perfectly balanced. Excellent, I’d definitely order it again. The banana crunch was a disappointment was it was neither very crunchy at the bottom or very real banana-y. It tasted of artificial banana… and there is nothing that bothers me more than artificial banana (because it reminds me of those darned antibiotics). The chestnut cake was okay, but it would have greatly benefited from a stronger chestnut presence. The white chocolate mousse was quite delicious and I liked the tangy strawberry stripe at the bottom. My only qualm with this piece was how long the buttery taste of the mousse lingered in my mouth. It would be much better if it was toned down a bit. These cakes would have benefited from fresher ingredients.

  

Overall, what were my thoughts on this Maxim? Now to be fair, two of us diners major in Nutrition and Food, one has a masters and a third member of the family is in national level food retail. We’re really critical of what we eat and we have a huge vocabulary to express it. Yet, I can say, at the end of the day, I do appreciate the light flavours and the quality ingredients. However, I think that it was overall just alright and we as a group agreed that it was a far cry from what the original restaurant used to be. Would I come back for a plate of ravioli and a slice or orange chocolate mousse?? You betcha. Would I recommend a visit? Yes, for a casual dinner there are definitely some good choices on the menu. It just might be a hit or miss.

The Damage: $185 including tip (8 people)

 

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About the author

Denice

Best possible description of Denice? I am your neighbour with a healthy dose of curiousity and a (questionably) unhealthy dose of persistence. An old soul - driven by passion, sustained by love. The way to my heart is through my stomach.

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