The Americanization of Max Brenner

Melissa and I paid a visit to the new Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar in Union Square last night for some kickin’ chocolate pizza. I thought it would be disgusting, with its melted marshmallows and goopy chocolate on a pizza crust, but something was drawing me to it. It turned out I was right. It was disgustingly incredible. (It was also disgustingly $6.50, though I can’t really deny that my half was worth $3.25.)

This was actually my second visit to Max’s–during my four days in London over Thanksgiving weekend a few years back, I had some pan au chocolat at the Harrod’s location, which, if the Max Brenner website is any indication, is no longer around. Despite a couple of large cauldrons of churning chocolate, the London place was kind of understated. It seemed to be saying: “What, you’ve never heard of a chocolate restaurant before? Sure, this particular one is pretty special, but please, this kind of thing has been commonplace in English society for decades.” The New York outpost, on the other hand, is positively garish, with giant chocolate pipes running up and down the space and more than a modest dose of kitsch.

Maybe that’s the fault of the Wonkafication of chocolate culture. My best guess, though, is that it’s the difference between Britain and America, despite some evidence to the contrary.

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