Monday, April 22, 2024

Dennis Max on Max’s Harvest

Last week I promised more details on Max’s Harvest, the latest venture from local restaurateur Dennis Max, who’s been laying low for the past few years but is now returning to the local dining scene with a flourish.

I got Dennis on the phone on his way back from the Keys, and he sounded pretty excited about the new Harvest, which is slated to debut in June in Delray’s resurgent Pineapple Grove neighborhood, taking over the space that once belonged to flash-in-the-pan Taste Gastropub.

As is fitting for the man who (with partner Burt Rapoport) was instrumental in bringing “California Cuisine” so SoFla in the 1980s, with Harvest Max is looking to build on the farm-to-table/Slow Food/seasonal trend popularized by Alice Waters and other California chefs, now a movement that’s sweeping across the country.

“We’re going a step beyond what we did years ago,” Max said. “It’s the second generation of the New American food movement.” What that means, he continued, is “clean, simple, unadulterated food that lets the land speak for itself.”

To that end, he’s brought in Chris Miracola from Himmarshee Bar & Grille in Fort Lauderdale as Harvest’s exec chef. Patrick Broadhead, top toque as Max’s other property, Max’s Grille in Mizner Park, is a partner in Harvest but won’t be running its kitchen. The menu is still being put together and will be finalized in a series of tastings over the next few weeks.

As for the restaurant’s physical space, the look and ambiance will be a complete change from Taste, which many diners found stark, cold and hugely uncomfortable.

“California Country,” Max calls the new homier look, which will feature a garden-like outdoor patio-slash-dining area at the restaurant’s entrance and giant windows that can open the patio to the interior dining room. Taste’s derriere-unfriendly seating will be replaced with more comfy tables and chairs and banquettes.

The exhibition kitchen will remain a focal point, and the small outdoor patio at the restaurant’s rear will be re-landscaped to make it a space for “food and wine grazing parties.” And that’s not the only thing Max has planned, but you’ll have to come back Tuesday to find out what.

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