Neighbourhood: St. Vital
Address: 1131 St Mary’s Rd
Long-standing dining destinations are beloved for bucking trends and staying on a traditional course that began in another era. Today, with social media platforms offering a constant stream of messages claiming something new and better, staying focused is a restaurateur’s superpower. Maxime’s is one such superpowered establishment.
A massive vestibule hospitably welcomes diners as they transition from the outdoor elements to a large dining room. This suburban setting indulges the senses with rich red tones, wall art in fancy gilded frames and statement lighting fixtures that cast a warm glow through the room. In “don’t know, don’t care” contrast to the stark minimalist modern restaurant interiors currently in fashion, Maxime’s trumps modern with timelessness and coziness as its winning calling cards.
While the menu promotes plenty of classics, there are novel twists to keep flavour forward foodies around the table engaged too. Beyond classic Caesar and Greek, mixed green salads contain fruit, nuts and protein add-ons that turn them into satisfying light meals. A beautifully prepared warm spinach salad features tender sautéed tiger prawns, red peppers and onions combined with fresh peach and mandarin slices, crumbled feta and toasted almonds. A citrus honey dressing coats the dish in tangy sweetness.
Opting for an entrée here guarantees a generous and filling meal. Each one includes house-made soup or green salad, choice of potato and veggies. Steaks are prepared with as much precision as any top steakhouse in the city. Twenty-eight-day dry aged triple New York strips, filets and top sirloins are charbroiled and tender. Classic decadent gravies like silky bernaise and kicky peppercorn are offered as modest upgrades.
Another signature of the menu is its selection of Greek style preparations. Chicken and pork souvlaki and lamb chops are kissed with Mediterranean herbs, spices and a peck of lemon, elevating the status of these popular favourites.
These subtle appearances of Mediterranean ingredients and unexpected flavours energize chicken and fish entrées. A creamy lemon-laced white wine caper sauce tops a tender breast of grilled chicken covered in sun-dried tomatoes and tart goat cheese. A traditional orange amandine buerre blanc is paired with pickerel, providing a sweeter variation on standard lemon. Traditional puttanesca sauce of kalamata olives, capers, tomatoes, shallots, garlic and artichoke is paired with a perfectly cooked piece of Atlantic salmon.
Delivering excellent renditions of classic dishes is a theme that continues to the final course. Resisting the server’s silver tray of the night’s tempting options is futile. We’ve never regretted a choice of chocolate, cheesecake, torte or creme brûlée. Apparently there is no wrong answer to this important decision – only one that leads to sweet dreams of the next visit.