Restaurants in Downtown Boston: Max & Dylans

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Posted February 28, 2013 by Rachel Leah Blumenthal in Eat & Drink
Max & Dylans' Downtown Crossing location looks small on the outside, but head inside and it's a whole different story.

A glimpse of one of their many delicious mac and cheese combinations.

When we arrived at Max & Dylans around 7:30 on a Sunday night, the first-floor bar and dining area were packed, as was the second floor. Burning some pre-dinner calories on the stairs, we were led all the way to the small third-floor dining room, which is flanked by huge mirrors on each wall, giving the place a grander feel and entertaining us with visions of infinite tunnels. Among the casual restaurants in downtown Boston, Max & Dylans distinguishes itself with an energetic atmosphere and tasty twists on classic bar food. The original Downtown Crossing location has proved so popular over its eight-year lifespan that new locations recently opened in Charlestown and Bedford.
Surrounded by tables full of young professionals and grad students, my dining companion and I perused the menu. I already had my heart set on a giant bowl of macaroni and cheese. In fact, Max & Dylans is somewhat known for its mac and cheese. Looking around us, we saw that most tables had at least one serving of it. The best part is that it’s made with cavatappi rather than plain old elbow pasta. Cavatappi, or spiral-shaped pasta, is like three elbows put together, providing plenty of extra nooks for cheese to accumulate. The mac and cheese menu has several options, each of which includes toasted garlic crumbs. (While I’m generally a Ritz cracker purist when it comes to mac and cheese, these crumbs did the job.) The choices: Maine lobster meat, Parma prosciutto and truffle oil, flash-fried Buffalo chicken tenders, sauteed spinach and artichoke hearts, or sliced Pearl hot dogs.

Max & Dylans’ filet mignon sliders were not only mouth watering but also very filling.

Almost swayed by the prosciutto, I ended up choosing the sliced hot dogs, recalling childhood memories of SpaghettiOs with small bites of sliced franks. The Max & Dylans hot dogs were sliced on the diagonal–a common way to slice chorizo–so I kept waiting to bite into a spicy bit of chorizo only to remember that it was just a hot dog. Despite a lingering wish that I had chosen a more exciting topping, I happily ate my way through most of the bowl, donating just a few bites of cheesy goodness to my dining companion.

Not content to offer just one type (or size) of burger, Max & Dylans offers a hamburger, cheeseburger, and tuna burger, along with a variety of tempting sliders: Kobe, filet mignon, barbecued pork, Buffalo chicken, meatball, braised short ribs, and turkey. My dining companion enjoyed the filet mignon sliders, which were cooked to a perfect medium rare and topped with bleu cheese, romaine, and red onion. Upon ordering, he was worried that the sliders might leave him hungry, but they ended up being the rough equivalent of an entree. They don’t come with any sides, though, so diners with large appetites might want to add an order of waffle fries or buttermilk-battered onion rings.

The kitchen’s obsession with sliders doesn’t stop there. The dessert menu features chocolate chip cookie sliders with vanilla ice cream. Sadly, we had no room to verify that these were as enjoyable as the entree sliders, but they will undoubtedly be an essential part of our next visit to restaurants in downtown Boston.

It’s no wonder that Max & Dylans was full, even on a Sunday night. Each floor of the tall, narrow space has its own distinct feel–from the energetic bar by the entrance to the quieter third-floor space. Brick walls and large black-and-white photographs of the city tie it all together, creating the perfect spot to unwind after work.

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