Max Brenner – A Chocoholic’s Utopia in New York City (And Beyond)

By Lakshmi:

Last week I had a business meeting in the city and since it was 2:00 pm, a time slot more conducive to a coffee break, the person I was with recommended we head to Max Brenner’s.  I have passed this place a zillion times on my numerous walks on Broadway and even had Siddhi give me a piping syringe filled with chocolate as a gift, but never had set foot here.

Given the weather and the holiday season, the place was packed.  To my right were two huge vats mixing molten white and regular chocolate and to my left was the bar area with a display case of assorted goodies and a woman making and stacking up crepes.  We seated ourselves on the bar stools and then started our oohing and aahing over the dessert menu.  Caramel milk shake or Mexican hot chocolate?  Eat something or simply have a drink?  We both decided on the Mexican hot chocolate.  Within a few minutes we were presented with the most beautiful serving cups (that looked more like gravy pourers – they are called hug mugs!) with a beautiful leaf like design made by the swirl of milk and chocolate on the top.  Our first question – how do you drink from these?  Our waitress told us to cup the utensil with both hands and just drink.  What happened next was not short of divine.  As the perfect blend of chocolate, milk, cinnamon and pepper coated our tongues, we both could not believe that the hot chocolate could be elevated to such a synergistic marriage of flavors.  “Oh my God, this is nothing like the Mexican hot chocolate we have had in other places….How do they do this…You feel the pepper kick without the spiciness…”  We delighted in every last drop, to the point that when the waiter came to take away my cup with a little bit left, I had to stop him.

After lounging here for a few hours, off I went to the Holiday Market at Union Square (featured in a separate post) and when I met up with Siddhi and her friend for dinner, we returned back here to try a meal.

This time, we sat in the dining area and ordered tacos, beer battered onion rings with a sauce that had chocolate, rosemary waffles encasing an arugula mozzarella sandwich and some pita with hummus.  The food was good, but in our opinion not as earth shattering as the chocolate that I had had earlier.  So, needless to say, dessert was a must do.

We decided to go for the fondue.  In a few minutes, we had a beautiful display showcasing a burner to roast marshmallows, three bowls set up over flames with milk chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel and finally strawberries, bananas, cookie and brownie bits.  We ate every morsel in front of us and even asked for spoons to finish the molten chocolate!

If you happen to be in New York City this winter, head over to Max Brenner’s located at 841 Broadway (between 13th and 14th Streets).  Any lover of chocolate will be hard pressed to leave without feeling satiated.

You can read up more on Max Brenner at

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