Saturday night I took Amy to dinner for her birthday to Max’s Seafood Cafe in Gloucester. I wanted to take pictures and blog about it, but like the big goof I am, I forgot my camera. But the meal was so good I decided to blog about it anyway.
Max’s is located in a residential area of Gloucester on the corner of a stretch of rowhomes on a one-way street. It has the feel of “old Philadelphia” with the insides being deep instead of wide, exposed brick walls, and a big wooden bar dating back to the 30’s.
When we entered, we were greeted by (who we believe to be) the owner who led us over to the hostess stand. They found our reservation and sat us at a table next to the window overlooking the street. The owner commented that Preston was an unusal name and it reminded him of the movie Arthur. (Liza Manelli crashes a party in the movie and pretends that one of the guests, named Preston, is her date.)
I ordered a dirty, Ketel one martini and Amy requested a cosmo. The drinks came quickly and were very good. We decided to start with the Max’s Seafood Sampler which was three bacon wrapped scallops, three clams casinos, and two fried oyesters for $11.85. They were served with two sides, a standard cocktail sauce and a tangy, stone ground mustard tartar sauce, which was a nice switch from the standard mayonaissey tartar sauce that is usually served with fried seafood. All three items were cooked perfectly. I am not a big fan of clams casino but these were tasty and not overly breaded as some can be. Amy raved over them.
We ordered another set of drinks and dinner. Amy went for one of the specials which was a beautiful fiet topped with crab and cheese mixture, garlic mashed potatoes, and asparagus ($26.95), while I went for the fried seafood platter. It consisted of a huge flounder filet, two large shrimp, two large scallops, two oysters, cole slaw, old bay fries, and the same sauces that came with the appetizer. ($19.95)
The filet was cooked perfectly with a creamy, mild-cheese crab topping that really complimented the meat. Amy oohed and ahhed her way through it. My meal was fried perfectly. Max’s uses a slightly thicker breading that sticks to the food but doesn’t overwhelm it with a bready taste. The old bay fries were hot and cripsy with just the right amount of seasoning. I was in heaven.
For desert, I ordered coffe with kahlua and the creme brulee and Amy had an Irish coffee and key lime pie. Both deserts were huge and we could barley finish them. The only disappointment was the coffee as neither was served with a whipped creme topping and I had to request creamer for mine.
The bill came to $112 before tip for four martinis, a large appetizer, two meals, two deserts, and two coffee drinks. I think it was a great deal. Both of us had some dinner left over, which the waitress kindly wrapped up for us. On the way out, the owner asked us how we enjoyed our meal. We told him it was great and it made Amy’s birthday. He was real pleased so he bought us each a drink to celebrate her birthday.
The owner is a really nice guy, who grew up in the area. We enjoyed chatting with him about the restaurant and the changes our community has gone through the years. Even without the free drinks and the friendly conversation, we had already decided we would definitely go back again. If you live in the area or plan to travel here and love seafood, this is one spot you will definitely not want to miss. Maybe we’ll see you there.