One of our recent Connecticut adventures included attending Fashion Night Out in West Hartford, CT to see fellow Connecticut Blogger, Caitlin from CaitPlusAte, model at the Fleet Feet Sports store. As we were making plans to eat, we came across Max’s Oyster Bar Happy Hour menu. We have heard good things about the Max Group restaurants, this being one of them, but have never had the chance to try one until now.
Max’s Oyster Bar is located at 964 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, CT. It is the fourth restaurant opened by restaurateur Richard Rosenthal. The restaurant offers modern creations of classic American seafood. For those who prefer something other than seafood, they have several dishes to choose from. Their raw bar offers a wide variety of bi-coastal oysters and shellfish.
Arriving at Max’s Oyster Bar at 5:00 pm, we took the last available table in the bar area and were soon greeted by our bubbly and friendly server, Ian. Throughout our entire visit at Max’s, Ian chatted with us as he passed by to serve other tables. He was eager to share his passion for the Max menu.
The prices are so reasonable that we ordered a good variety off the Happy Hour menu. We were happily surprised at the variety on the Max’s Oyster Bar Happy Hour menu. What a great way to introduce the restaurant to someone who may not have been there before – namely us – and make us want to go back again to try out their full menu offerings.
Here is what we ordered:
Pork Belly Steamed Bun with Asian slaw and sweet chili. These perfectly steamed buns came with several slices of crispy pork belly topped off with slaw and a slightly hot, but sweet chili sauce. We were served Asiago bread and caraway seed crackers as we waited for our food to arrive.
3 – 4 – 5 (any Three for 5 Bucks): Atlantic oysters, littleneck clams, and cherrystone clams. I choose one of each for my plate. They came beautifully arranged on a bed of ice and were so fresh looking that I thought they just came from the fishing docks. Accompanying them were a tin of the typical cocktail sauce and a second tin that held a creative blend of red peppercorn, herbs, and light oil. These were so good and fresh, that I thought about ordering more, but knew we had other food coming.
Our Famous Clam Chowder – quahogs, potato, and bacon. If they do not already, they should enter this chowder in local or even national chowder cook-off as it was fantastic! We have had other chowders before and since this meal and we stick to our guns that this is one of the best around. There are extremely large chunks of quahogs surrounded by potato, bacon, and scallions; all swimming in a nice cream broth. The star of this dish was definitely the quahogs, all other ingredients were just supporting cast rounding out the dish.
For cocktails we decided upon the Vertigo and Hooker’s Brewtus Maximus Pale Ale. The Vertigo (shown on the left and in the photo above) is made with Ramazotti Averna, Ginger beer, and lime. The Brewtus Maximus is made especially for the Max’s Oyster Bar by the Thomas Hooker Brewery. Take a close look at the Happy Hour menu under the drinks, notice the prices? Pretty amazing. You can get a cocktail or specialty drink for $5 and some drafts for $3. This is awesome pricing for a restaurant of this quality.
We also had Blackened Fish Tacos with mango-jalapeno relish and cilantro. The taco shells were the right vessel to use to consume a flavorful combination of just-right blackened fish and the mango-jalapeno relish. The combination of mango and cilantro gave the dish the citrus part to pair with the fish.
We were very pleased with the plates that we ordered. Each offered a different taste of seafood, except, of course the pork belly. But who can pass by ordering pork belly if it is on the menu. Based on the taste of the Happy Hour dishes, we will definitely have to try lunch or dinner at Max’s Oyster Bar the next time we are in West Hartford. If this restaurant is characteristic of all the Max Group restaurants, it will be our pleasure to visit each and everyone of them!