March 8, 2007

See You at the Club

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When planning his weekend visit to Cornell, my brother Jon, faithful Cornell alum, centered all of his daily activities around not places around campus, bars, or parties but on his favorite eateries. Yes, Jon came to Cornell knowing where he would eat almost every single meal during the three days he was here. I didn’t mind accompanying him to these places, but I did insist on taking him out to a restaurant of my choice with the promise that he would be featured in my next column. He ardently agreed to this plan (who would pass up a free dinner?) and so Jon, my cousin, a couple of my friends, and I ventured to Maxie’s Supper Club, located on 635 West State Street, which is on the way to Wegmans. Why did I pick Maxie’s for my brother’s fun dinner out on the town? Well, after having eaten there for my dear friend Ksenia’s 19th birthday, I knew my brother would greatly enjoy its unique cuisine and fun décor. And he did, as did we all.

Saturday night marked my second dinner at Maxie’s, but not my second attempt to eat there. I had, in fact, tried to dine there when my parents came to town back in October, but found the restaurant overflowing with business and we were forced to head venture elsewhere. In order to prevent this from happening again, our party arrived at Maxie’s at around 5:15 p.m. and was seated quite promptly in one of the three dining areas. After receiving our menus, the long process of choosing the perfect dish began.

Maxie’s boasts a New Orleans style of cuisine, which includes fresh fish, oysters, chicken, ribs, gumbo, and a number of sandwiches, which the restaurant calls Po’ Boys. The menu even includes a number of vegetarian options all of which retain the spirit of Cajun food, even though they lack meat and fish.

After perusing the menu a number of times, I decided to order two appetizers (the Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Maxie’s Deluxe Crabcake) as my entrée so that I could sample more than just one item. My companions’ orders included Maxie’s Deluxe Crabcake Platter with Sweet Potato Fries (definitely a crowd favorite), a Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy, and a Barbeque Chicken Po’ Boy. We also ordered a basket of Cajun Fries for the table as an appetizer to accompany the cornbread the waitress brought to our table.

I wish I had the column space to describe some of the other wonderful things featured on the menu, but instead I will simply advise you to visit the restaurant’s website and take a look for yourself. You will definitely be impressed.

While eating some Cajun Fries, which were absolutely delicious, and chatting with my brother and friends, I took some time to observe the environment around me. While the restaurant is not overly decorated, the ambiance definitely represents the spirit of New Orleans. Its heavy red velvet curtains, funky lamps, and gold-tinted ceiling make you feel as if you’ve been transported down South and are relaxing by a bayou. Maxie’s also hosts live music every Sunday night as well as food-themed night on different days of the week. There is certainly no lack of festivities at this restaurant.
A short while later, the food arrived looking and smelling absolutely fantastic. My dishes were extremely tasty; the Grilled Shrimp Skewers were perfectly cooked and glazed in chipotle honey and the Crabcake was chock full of hearty crabmeat and garnished with a zesty Cajun mayonnaise. The two dishes complemented each other quite nicely and completely satisfied my appetite. My fellow diners had nothing but compliments for their dishes as well and finished them in no time, leaving almost no leftovers.

Although we claimed to be totally full, the dessert menu was too enticing to pass up. And so, after several minutes of contemplation, two orders of Mocha Chip Ice Cream and a Banana Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie to be shared were ordered. The desserts proved to be just as delicious as the entrees and were eaten equally as fast.

Leaving the restaurant, Jon thanked me a number of times for the wonderful meal to which I treated him. He said he was sorry he did not live in Ithaca anymore and could not visit Maxie’s again in the near future. Upon hearing this statement, I thought to myself just how lucky I am to not only be in a place with so many great restaurant options, like Maxie’s, but also to have the ability to recommend them to all of you.