Wednesday, March 24, 2010

East Village Lasagna @ Max / Joining the Dessert Club Chikalicious

In February, when I had stood outside for three miserable hours waiting for the Lunar New Year parade, a little old lady and her husband befriended me and asked about the Dumpling House.  She did not know that dumplings are my most favorite subject in the world, which got me excitedly talking about Lan Zhou and the series of other Dumpling scenes I've frequented, further leading me to talk and talk and talk about everything I loved in Chinatown.  Then I asked them, "Where you do eat?" and she talked about living on Staten Island (so unnecessary), and how she also eats in Chinatown (yadayada), and then eventually (five terribly long minutes later), threw out a few spots.  One of which was Max.  And since she said she and her hubs were *definitely* going to check out Lan Zhou, I thought I would do her a solid and try out her recommendation also.

And that is how Tanuja and I found ourselves at Max.

Max is a small, dimly lit restaurant with about a dozen tables inside and another 12-15 tables in their backyard patio (very lovely on a warmer day).  They do not take reservations, but we arrived there at 7:00p on a Friday night and had plenty a table to choose from. 

Max gets Yelp shoutouts for its lasagna with bechamel sauce and homemade gnocchi, so we ordered accordingly.  Tanuja also suggested the garlic bread.  Which was a no-brainer. This is why we are friends.

Before our food was served, they gave us a loaf of bread and a bowl filled with oil and mystery.  We asked a nearby server what was inside the bowl.  He revealed: olive oil, olives and tomato sauce.  Totally tasty combination.  We ate a few slices in the novel sauce, and saved the rest in anticipation of the arrival of our garlic bread.

The garlic bread appetizer came as three slices of crusty bread layered with soft roasted garlic and topped with a coat of baked crunchy cheese.  Super garlicky, but I wasn't planning on making out with anyone later that night.  I know.  Sad.

Our entrees arrived within the next ten minutes in huge, piping portions.

Tanuja's bowl of gnocchi was filled to the brim with brilliant potato doughballs, and strands of mozzarella melted throughout the marinara sauce.

My lasagna was served in a nice clay pot, completely enveloped in red, red sauce.  I was buggin' with excitement.  Who does not want to eat lasagna meant for a family of 3?  I was immediately struck by the sweetness of the red sauce, and though it had a nice overall flavor, I found it to be incredibly rich. 

I still managed to eat half of it and took the rest home.  It was just as good the following day reheated in a skillet. 

All in all, I am not sure if I would return again for the lasagna (its richness and sweetness is overwhelming) but perhaps for the gnocchi.  I regret not stealing a bite off of T's plate!

After, because 1,000 calories did not provide enough sustenance for one meal, I suggested we hit up Dessert Club Chikalicious.

So we did.

Red velvet + chocolate mousse caked it up !

The red velvet was actually a pretty moist and tasty little number.  I was weirded out about how smooth the icing looked (seriously.  like an albino baby's bottom!), but the frosting was incredibly soft and totally cream cheesy.  My chocolate mousse cake was good, but the bottom layer was tough to crack with my plastic spoon and I ended up launching pieces of my cake into the air left and right (such a waste).  I wouldn't recommend getting this.  I plan to make a return visit to try their s'mores cupcake and adult chocolate pudding (sounds so scintillating!).

51 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009
Max on Urbanspoon

Dessert Club Chikalicious
204 E. 10th Street
New York, NY
Dessert Club, ChikaLicious on Urbanspoon

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