THE BITE: Ah, how I love to save money. It’s become a compulsion these last couple of years with the economy in the toilet. I like to eat, so I’m always looking out for a lunch or dinner special to raise me from these financial doldrums.
Max’s Burgers and Steaks, located at 367 Avenue X, has a burger lunch special. For only $5.50, you receive a burger that’s grilled to order, hand cut French fries and a can of soda. Not a bad deal at all.
At The Bite, we usually only focus on one item, but since we’re talking about the lunch special, let’s discuss each item individually.
First up is the burger itself. Max’s claims that its burger is made from 100 percent fresh ground beef that is never frozen. The standard burger includes ketchup, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Available upgrades are cheese, bacon or mushrooms for an additional 50 cents. For a fried egg, add $1. The toppings are pretty standard cafeteria stock, with the lettuce being a nice surprise. Max’s uses romaine lettuce, with leaves torn to fit the wonder bread quality bun.
This four-ounce burger is grilled to your liking on a standard flat top. The burger was cooked nicely, to an almost perfect medium. It was juicy and tender, but unfortunately, the burger was woefully under-seasoned. A little salt and pepper added just before cooking would go a long way. Take a look at A Hamburger Today’s extensive research on the science of salting burgers here.
The French fries were hand-cut into long thin strips, much thinner than the fries available at McDonald’s. These fries were crisp and nicely seasoned with both salt and a little bit of black pepper. The fries were the highlight of the meal and worth a trip just for themselves.
Now, I can’t be entirely sure, as I could barely see what the fry cook was doing, but he was scooping what appeared to be limp wet fries into the fryer, which would mean that Max’s fries get a pre-fry blanching step in hot water. Never heard of this step? It’s crucial to perfectly cooked french fries and one of the secrets to the McDonald’s French fry. If you want to know the science behind that, let’s go back to my friends at A Hamburger Today who tell you more about making french fries than you’ll ever need to know.
The meal was rounded out with a can of soda and here, in my never to be humble opinion, is where Max’s drops the ball big time. You see, Max’s only offers Pepsi products. Being a truly devoted fan, some would say addict, of Diet Coke, having to settle for a Pepsi product was a real sacrifice. I’ve been known to walk out of restaurants that do not offer Diet Coke!
Max’s Burgers and Steaks, 367 Avenue X, (718) 688-9070.
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.