Maximiliano – Kinda Old School Italian
I’d had my heart set on Maximiliano for a number of months, with a number of items on their tantalizing menu tempting me, all stemming from descriptive wording on their website to luscious images from local food bloggers making the rounds on the internet. Three particular selections on the menu kept crying out to me, and when opportunity arose to feature Highland Park for a magazine
, I leapt like a salivating cat underneath a dangling piece of bacon. Mmmm. Bacon.
With my brunch buddies Steffie and Evan in tow, we carpooled over and made our 11am reservation (not precisely a necessity, but it never hurts!), scoring rock star street parking alongside the brick building that now houses the restaurant. The dream child of Chef Andre Guerrero – born and raised in the adjacent neighborhood of Glassell Park – Maximiliano is a welcome second feat, as his first “baby” (the much celebrated Oinkster), is already the stuff of legends. Inspired by the Italian flag, the interior of Maximiliano was just old school enough to give us security that a fantastic meal was shortly to arrive, and modern enough to put us at ease in a friendly, airy, and bright environment. Just the setting brunch in Los Angeles ought to be.
Baker’s Bread Box $7
Hearing our hunger pangs rumbling, our waiter encouraged us to order the Baker’s Bread Box, a literal box filled with a selection of breakfast pastries, made in-house. Our box was bursting with incredibly moist zucchini bread, orange ginger bread, raspberry mini muffins, and scones along with fresh cream. I laugh now to recall that I did not think we would finish it; nearly every bite was devoured in a ravenous frenzy. My favorite was definitely the zucchini bread, while Steffie and Evan both took a particular liking to the orange ginger bread.
Convincing my friends to go with those menu items that I had dancing around in my head, like the visions of sugar plums to the slumbering children of the holiday poem, was not as monumental a task as I had been anticipating. Possibly because the frenzied gleam in my eyes clued them in that to question my cravings would be disastrous.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict $14
The first main to arrive was the smoked salmon Eggs Benedict, and in my opinion, a brunch just isn’t a brunch without some variety of Eggs Benedict. An oldie but goodie, it featured wilted spinach with generous portions of salmon adorned with two of the most perfectly coddled, yolky eggs, topped with house-made Hollandaise. A true-blue staple for brunch traditionalists. Maximiliano also offers applewood bacon confit Eggs Benedict as an alternative.
Carbonara Pasta $12
bacon confit, poached egg
Our second main was on the unconventional side of the menu: Carbonara Pasta with bacon confit and poached egg. The wide noodles had an al dente freshness to them that told me they were made in-house that very morning (there really is no pasta more satisfying than when it’s made fresh), and the bacon confit was more like the texture of chunked ham steak, so juicy and meaty, with a tenderness I do not normally associate with bacon. I ate the bulk of this dish, already scheming on who else I might be able to talk into coming out for another brunch date just so I could indulge in this creamy, meaty, eggy, carbohydrate paradise again.
Maximiliano Bloody Mary $8
While mimosa’s are the standard drink for brunch here in L.A., I’m actually a bigger fan of bloody Mary’s. However, I am persnickety about them, and this peppery, spice-laden vegetable circus was too busy for me. It was a whole buffet of flavors going on in one glass, and I had to enlist my friends to help me polish it off. Really excellent if you like your Bloody Mary’s to have multiple layers of pepperiness, but I’d pass next time.
Ricotta Pancake $8
lemon curd, fresh berries
After many savories, it was time to indulge our sweet tooth with the ricotta pancake, complemented with a generous dollop of lemon curd and a sprinkling of fresh berries. It was our just desserts to max out on, bringing our bellies to maximum brunch contentedness.
With excellent service, quality food, moderate prices and just the bright kind of atmosphere I like to brunch in, it’s a no brainer that I’d definitely recommend and return to Maximiliano. Ciao!
5930 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA