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New York

Max Brenner

March 13, 2012

Max Brenner
841 Broadway,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 467-8803

During my stay in New York, I got to meet up with some friends from my high school, the American International School of Guangzhou.  We met up in Union Square and what better place to go sit and chat than Max Brenner?


Max Brenner is a place for “chocolate by the bald man.”  Although it serves normal food such as burgers and fries, it prides itself in serving a variety of chocolate-related desserts such as waffles with chocolate syrup, chocolate fondue, chocolate lava cake…and what I found interesting was an Alice-in-Wonderland-like chocolate drink.

For our table, we decided to share everything and some of us ordered drinks for ourselves.  I ordered the hazelnut chocolate smoothie (can’t remember the exact name, sorry!), which was served in a porcelain cup that said “Drink me” with a metal straw–beware for those of you who have a habit of chewing on your straws.

Hazelnut chocolate smoothie

The chocolate fondue was mediocre though the utensils they used was very petite and cute.  The fondue was served on a porcelain cup of chocolate sitting on top of a burning candle with a bowl of strawberries, banana chunks and marshmallow.  I was confused with a very mini charcoal grill.  After a few minutes, I realized it was for melting the marshmallow before dipping it into the chocolate.

It’s best to be shared with a few friends since the chocolate dip is very heavy.  Since most of us had lunch right before we met up, it wasn’t a good choice for dessert.

Chocolate fondue

The waffle with berries and chocolate syrup was not as special as I had hoped it would be as well.  It came on a platter with a piece of Belgian waffle, mixed berries, chocoballs (like mini whoppers) and a few chunks of brownies.  The chocolate syrup was in a mini vial on the platter.


The chocolate lava cake was again, ordinary.  I was expecting a little special something added to it since we did go to a place specialized in chocolate dessert after all.  The lava cake was decent but not great.  I think I might have had tasted better ones from Morton’s Steakhouse or Gordon Ramsay’s at The London.

Chocolate lava cake platter

Chocolate lava cake

Overall, I set my expectations really high for this place and was disappointed.  My friends told me it was a place that specializes in chocolate dessert and I walked in thinking everything would be better or more special than desserts I have tried at other restaurants.

The one thing that was special about this place was the entire place was filled with a sweet chocolate smell the moment I walked in.  Furthermore, right next to the gift store section are two chocolate churners and pipes connected to them and run through the entire place as if chocolate was really dispensed from the churners (or maybe it really is).  I also found these chocolate syringes at the gift store where you can heat the chocolate up to use the syrup inside (great for decorating cakes and cupcakes).

Chocolate churner

100% Pure Chocolate Pipes

Chocolate syringes

Found this quote on a chocolate metal box that our bill came in: “Money for life, chocolate for the soul.”

Happy eating!
Joey ♥


March 12, 2012

45 W. 55th St,
New York, NY 10019
(212) 541-7145

March, 2012

While visiting New York for the first time, I dropped by a little restaurant between 5th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas for dinner.  I was in a rush to catch a Broadway show so my priority was something that was decent and fast.

Katsu-Hama prides itself in being “the only tonkatsu [fried pork on rice] restaurant in New York.”  I ordered from the prix fixe menu and was impressed by the quality of food and service I received.  The host didn’t greet our party until we walked up a staircase leading from the entrance to the dining area.  I was a little skeptical of the place at first because there were only a couple of customers dining there.

Our appetizers came shortly after we ordered our meals.
Miso Soup

Japanese Style Roasted Beef

The beef was truly amazing.  It came out warm on the plate flavorless but the sour sauce complements the beef.  I would have asked the waiter what the name of the sauce is if I wasn’t in a rush.

After appetizer came the main course.  I chose the porkloin katsu paired with a piece of white fish katsu and a crab cream croquette.  The crab cream croquette was mediocre but the white fish katsu was amazing.  I would say fish katsu sounded weird at first since it’s different from the normal chicken or pork katsu.  Unlike other types of fried food, the katsu wasn’t greasy, which was good for a meal after a 6-hour plane ride to Philadelphia and a  2-hour bus ride to New York.

When asked if I wanted the pork tenderloin or the porkloin katsu, I opted for the porkloin katsu even though the waiter said it contains more fat.  After walking in NYC for an entire day, I decided I probably burned enough calories to afford to eat that little bit of fat.  I wouldn’t be able to compare the tenderloin with the porkloin but the porkloin was exactly what the waiter said, soft and melts in your mouth.

From left to right: Porkloin Katsu, Crab Cream Croquette, White Fish Katsu

Dinner set with the katsu, rice, grinded sesame.

Katsu sauce

The dinner ended with green tea ice cream (one of my favorites), which definitely hit the spot.

Green Tea Ice Cream


Happy eating!

Joey ♥