Max’s Seafood Café – Gloucester City, NJ
Not many places have been around since 1890. Well Max’s Seafood Café (MSC) is one of them. A shoe store when it first opened, a saloon starting in 1912, and then seafood joint beginning in 1977, MSC has quite a long and storied history. MCS was closed briefly from 1998 through 2001 with new owners overhauled the building restoring the plate-glass windows, tin ceiling, designed a private dining area with a fireplace, and created a two thousand bottle wine cellar. With such a storied history, the building MSC sits in has created different memories for many generations of families. MSC sits in a completely residential part of town and can easily be missed if you are not familiar with the area. Parking around the area is curbside street parking, but MSC has a nice parking lot with free parking directly across the street from their establishment which is a nice touch. The interior is very nice and immediately brings back memories of old saloons you have seen in the movies. My visit to MSC would be lunch and my order of the day would be Lobster Roll.
The Lobster Roll was fresh lobster meat, blanched celery, tarragon aioli on a toasted bun accompanied by fresh-cut fries. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the decent amount of meat provided in the roll especially since my meal was half of the cost of other restaurants that have offered the same thing in Philadelphia. The tarragon aioli really provided a nice touch. It did not overpower the sweet lobster meat, yet added to and enhanced the overall flavor profile of the roll. The fries were good, and much better than then double breaded fries, but the menu stated they were to be old bay fries and they were as plain as could be. When I asked my server, he responded with “the kitchen was having a rough day and must have missed that part”.
I really enjoyed my lunch at MCS and must say I was impressed with the overall cost and quality I received. The service was spotty as big lags were experienced between service, drink fill ups, not getting old bay fries, and a long wait for the check and change even though the lunch crowd was light. These are things that can be easily rectified with a staff meeting and service refresher from management and a little more attention to detail from the kitchen. MSC had me leave happier than I entered so even with their flaws that day, I would go back to try other things off of MSC’s lunch or dinner menu, and cap my visit off with a few drinks at their beautiful bar.
Three and Three-Fourths out of Five Stars