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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Beacon's Signature Dish@Max's-on-Main

What better night than "Fat Tuesday" to head to Max's-on-Main for my very first time in search of a supper worthy of the feast before the fast. I had walked by Max's many times throughout the last six years and always felt intimidated by the crowded, pub-like atmosphere. Yet, all of my friends who are 'regulars' would tell me the food was great and the ambiance friendly enough to venture in at anytime, reminding me about Tuesday's Trivia Night and Wednesday Ladies' Night for extra enticement. 

Max's has two sides - the bar with its TV screen, bistro tables and dark wood paneled walls that are warm and inviting to join in and feel like part of the set for a re-run of Cheers. The other side is filled with small tables adorned with white butcher paper and cups of crayons with posters and photos on the wall reminding one of the west village music scene in the days of Fillmore east. I chose the latter and felt welcomed by a cheerful and down-to-earth waitress, Karissa, who was available to chat since the usual Tuesday Trivia crowd hadn't arrived yet. She assured me that my choice of pierogies was indeed one of the popular signature dishes at Max's. The pierogies, filled with potatoes and cheddar cheese and served as an appetizer, were plentiful on a plate adorned with salsa and sour cream over some greens, and covered with caramelized onions and fresh scallions. The dish was a welcome sight to behold and surely fit the bill to have just the right amount of fat since they were sauteed in browned butter. 
The pierogies brought back the sought after memories of Pearl, my Czechoslovakian neighbor in Brooklyn, who would call me in to watch as she stood in her kitchen and rolled dough and filled them with the variety of fillings of cabbage and potatoes and cheese, placed them in a rolling pot of water, and then served up a plate with just enough butter to match my salivating lips. That's what growing up in Brooklyn was all about. And to find a place in Beacon that meets expectations from those childhood memories is endearing. Thanks to Harvey and Richie Kaplan for believing in Beacon in 2006; you've had a great run and will continue to thrive as you bring together many former Brooklynites, native and transplanted ones, to a corner of the world at 246 Main Street in Beacon!

Food for thought:  Comfort found in mundane places where community gathers is one of the best ingredients for a good meal and deep conversation. Memories are always associated with our tastes and palate. Every time we mix and stir together our favorite recipe and offer our prepared food to our friends and family, we plant a solid memory that will be evoked time and time again, no matter where or when they find us. I found my memories of Pearl and all of my immigrant neighbors who shared their finest cuisine, the peasant food of their lands left behind, with generosity and grace; a wonderful memory to sustain anyone in lean times that keeps you hungry for more.

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How about making Monday nights pierogie nights at Max's with diners' suggestions for the next variation on a pierogie plate to be voted on and offered on a rotating basis? My own version for an updated version would be to serve the pierogies covered with bacon crisps and a side of caramelized apples and honey drizzled Greek yogurt.
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