Looking for a indulgent brunch option in denver that is unpretentious but also has the perfect dose of class? Head no further than max’s wine dive.
Brunch is easily my favorite meal of the day. Cocktails are socially acceptable, there’s savory + sweet options to enjoy and lingering over your meal is highly encouraged. I love a good brunch + there’s no-shortage of options in denver… no doubt about it! However, our latest visit to max wine dive left quite the impression, not to mention, very full tummies.
Max’s wine dive has cornered the market on gourmet comfort food in a laid-back + comfortable environment. Their space in congress park is beautifully adorned with cafe lights, banquet seating + a long bar overlooking their open kitchen. We grabbed a spot along the windows to watch the spring snow storm that was covering denver in a few inches of white just a couple weeks ago.
On a cold snowy morning, all I want is to be warmed from the inside out. Luckily, max’s gave us just that. We sampled our way through the restaurant’s most popular + delicious offerings. Between southern staples + typical brunch fare, carefully finessed with a fine-dining touch, the menu has something for everyone. Hands down, my favorite dish of the day was the chicken + waffles. The jalapeno-buttermilk marinated chicken had the most delicious + crispy crust but was perfectly moist on the inside. Paired with a bright + bubbly glass of champagne, this dish was decadence on every level. A close contender was the max ‘n cheese. Cavatappi pasta tossed in a rich truffle, provolone, gruyere, parmigiano-reggiano + white cheddar sauce before being topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. Honestly, I could have eaten only a bowl of this mac ‘n cheese and been perfectly content. It was heaven on a plate.
Everything on the menu is easily share-able which is great when brunching with a group. I would recommend an order of the spiced apple french toast for the table when you visit. Thick texas toast is dipped in a spiced cinnamon apple batter before being grilled to perfection. Topped with caramelized apples + maple syrup, it hits that sweet note many people crave in breakfast foods.
Yet, the fried egg sandwich would be another excellent starter because of its massive size. Three eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, cheese, bibb lettuce, tomatoes + a schmear of black truffle aioli, piled high between 2 slices of artisan sourdough bread. Filling but in the best of ways. I was excited to try the honey-butter benedict, as it read-well on the menu. House-made biscuits topped with fried chicken, honey butter + eggs, smothered in a jalapeno-cream gravy + chipolte sauce, it was visually stunning when brought out to the table. However, I felt the layers of bold flavors got a bit lost on the plate. Not a total miss but I probably would choose a different option next time.
I am a huge fan of grits and would consider myself quite the connoisseur. So, when I say the jalapeno-cheddar grits at max’s were some of the best I have had, I kid-you-not. The grits were well-seasoned, smooth + oh so creamy. General manager, chris david, gave me the inside scoop on the restaurant’s grits recipe. As straight forward as it seemed, I swear there must be a secret ingredient that made them so on-point. Make sure you order a side, or the shrimp + grits plate with a spicy butter broth + topped with a perfectly poached egg.
As for boozy options, there are plenty of wines, beers + craft cocktails to pair with your brunch offerings. I did not indulge this visit but received feedback on the options brought to the table. Like I mentioned above, fried chicken pairs beautifully with bubbles. So, a glass of côté mas ‘st-hilaire’ cremant rosé is a must to balance out any of the savory or more indulgent dishes on the menu. The house-infused vodka used in the bloody mary’s had a strong herbaceous + pickle flavor; bold + tasty but maybe a bit outside my love for a ‘classic bloody’. Yummy berry-infused vodka is the star of their sparking cocktail with lemon and their version of a mimosa had rave reviews as well.
Simply put, max’s wine dive is a rare star in the endless brunch options here in denver. Their space is approachable + welcoming, balanced by a menu that brings sophistication to ‘comfort food’ dining. A meal here will leave you feeling full + well taken care of but also, yearning for a repeat visit very soon.