We were looking for a place to eat after my God Daughter's college opera performance. My friends suggested we go to Bertucci's or Macaroni Grill (yecch!). I asked a couple of adults who looked like they might be local and sought a recommendation. They said easily, "Max's Oyster Bar. And I am glad they did.
The restaurant is on a commercial street with ample parking out back. The decor is clubby / cozy with soft lighting. In good weather, they offer sidewalk tables too. If you lived near West Hartford, I see how this could become your favorite spot
Service, despite the large size of our party, was efficient and professional (not very common in a college town).
The two appetizers we tried received mixed reviews. The better of the two was the New England clam chowder. Rich with clams, cream and bacon, I could have sat myself down in front of a tureen, large spoon in hand and died happy. Alas, the $13 crab cakes were just fair.
Despite being a seafood place, beef played a significant role on the menu. The fillet received high marks and was cooked as ordered. Several of us had the pan baked lobster over garlic mashed. It sounded so wonderful, I had high expectations. I hate to say it, but it was merely pretty good and not the nearly $30 gift from the gods I expected. Not so the potatoes - if they put garlic in there, they were well hidden. The grilled cod with mashed was pronounced "really good" but the garlic was AWOL in the spuds here as well.
We had a nice genuine French Chardonnay (shhh, don't tell Dick Cheney) - a steal at $30. And the Key Lime Pie was small but well made with a good crust. The sorbet was raspberry and it too was quite good.
All told, the bill with tip for 9 people came to $400. Considering we had wine, a couple of drinks, a couple of appetizers and a couple of desserts, the bill was more than fair and easily matched the overall quality. Again, our server did a wonderful job and added to the overall experience.
A great find that saved me from eating in a chain restaurant. 4 stars.