He helped make "California cuisine" popular in South Florida, now Dennis Max is spreading the farm-to-table gospel that originated in California to white-hot Delray Beach, where in June he expects to open his own outpost of that now-nationwide culinary trend, Max's Harvest.
Max, who took a break from the sturm und drang of the restaurant biz after he and partner Burt Rapoport built a restaurant empire during the 1980s and 1990s, is taking over the Northeast 2nd Avenue space that was formerly home to the hugely unrealized Taste Gastropub.
Max's Harvest represents "the second generation of the New American Food movement," Max says, and will feature one-to-one relationships with local and regional growers and producers of artisan foods, with the goal of serving "clean, simple, unadulterated food that lets the land speak for itself."
Chef of the new venture is Chris Miracola, late of Fort Lauderdale's
Himmarshee Bar & Grill, who's still in the process of developing
Harvest's menu. Among Max's partners in the restaurant is Patrick
Broadhead, exec chef of Max's Grille in Boca, which Max still owns.
for Harvest's physical space, which as Taste was slammed for being even
more uncomfortable than it was cold and uninviting, Max plans a warmer
and comfier "California Country" redo, with a front dining area that
opens onto a garden-like patio set with tables and candles.
Taste's butt-busting seating will be replaced with more
derriere-friendly booths, banquettes and bistro chairs, while the small
back patio will be re-landscaped to become a place for "food-wine
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cocktail party grazing."
Who knows, it might just be enough to wipe the bad taste of Taste out of local diners' mouths.