Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bald Man Arriving in Back Bay

We're getting a Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man outpost at
745 Boylston Street, roughly across from the Mandarin and next to Starbucks.

Savor the entire condescending review by New York Magazine here. Here's an excerpt:
Somewhere over the course of spreading the chocolate gospel, the European-trained (and sufficiently bald) chocolatier Oded Brenner has adopted the Wonka-like persona of “Max Brenner.” These days, he can generally be found at his newest location, expediting orders, munching chocolate-covered toast, and ensuring that the venture continues to position itself as the joyful antithesis of the intimidating realm that, his press materials assert, haute chocolate inhabits. Trouble is, Brenner’s self-proclaimed “new worldwide chocolate culture” comes off as just the sort of ­tourist- targeting spectacle you’d expect to find in Times Square, animated with loud Euro- accented house music and an abundance of overwrought, often overly sweet concoctions... 
Max Brenner strives to be a dessert destination, and the minuscule café tables tend to be taken by groups of diet-be-damned girlfriends yapping away like overstimulated mynah birds, gurgling tots, and sheepish young couples on dates. 
Even though chocolate forms the wide and sturdy base of my Food Pyramid, I don't know how I feel about this. When I'm in Manhattan, I always walk right past the Bald Man in Union Square because I'm so intent on getting my Così Signature Salad next door on Broadway. (Yes, I know I can get them in Boston, but I don't care. We even had dinner at the original Così in Paris, which is very different, but also good. I love Così.) I know there could be chocolate nirvana in there, but it looks like a zoo. And, in NYC, I am also intent on checking out the many cupcake bakeries, not Cheesecake Factory–type experiences. Which is what the Bald Man boils down to, I guess, only even more outrageously.

But anything that New York Magazine gets all high and mighty about can't be all bad. Especially if it's chocolate. So maybe we'll join the tourists and Mandarin residents [redundant?] squawking with mynah-bird glee over their Hazelnut Cream Banana Toffee Crèpe ($13.25), White Chocolate Truffle Carrot Cake ($11.95) and Chocolate Chunks Pizza ($8.75/$15.95). I'd try something simpler, like Banana Tempura Fondue ($11.75). The hot chocolate drinks impressed even New York Magazine, but I'm not going to risk that.

Check out the Bald Man's Menus, here. I wish we were getting a Così instead, but we apparently can't have everything here in Back Bay.

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