Review: Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill and Brewery

What: Basil Pesto Salmon, Fried Cheesecake
Where: Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill and Brewery – 320 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Rating (1-5): 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

While I was still in Atlanta, Melody and I couldn’t figure out where we wanted to go for dinner one night. I unfortunately wasn’t a great travel companion for the Red Phone Booth like we had tried to plan for (jet lag and con craze, man). But I told Melody that she didn’t have to drag me around every where this trip, so I did some digging and found Max Lager’s.

The restaurant wasn’t far from where we were standing at the time, and it had a decent price range. We’d have been foolish if we thought on such a busy weekend in August we’d get a table right away. Luckily we weren’t foolish, but we were very hungry.

When you walk into Max Lager’s there is an upstairs leading to a bar area and a restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant also contains a small bar and lots of tables. All of which were packed. The entire building is done up to reflect an industrial red-brick brewery with rafters and beams stretching across the entire seating area.

The hostess told us it might be 30-40 minutes before they could seat us, and that the bar upstairs was full. We considered our options, and we decided to risk it and put our name down. Just as we were standing around wondering if we’ll ever be able to eat again, a large group left the bar upstairs and we hurried up before anyone else came trickling in.

The area upstairs was honestly a little more relaxed than the downstairs area. Everything felt a little chaotic with so many people downstairs. If you get a chance to check out their upstairs bar, I say do that for your experience. We seated ourselves at the bar, rather than the long table running down the middle of the room, and got our waters and perused the food and drinks. Neither Melody nor I are big beer drinkers. I’ve tried many-an-ale, but I have never found something that truly called to me.

The guest tap beers we tried at Max Lager’s were actually a step-up from what I’m used to, but I found myself swapping between that and the water all night. Still, definitely check out the Crisp Apple if they are still serving it there. Melody’s Fluffy Otter was also quite the treat.

Oof, sorry about this bad pic, y’all.

Now, I won’t lie. The basil pesto salmon doesn’t quite hold up to the salmon I had at Meehan’s, however, it is a little like comparing apples to oranges. Max Lager’s describes their dish as “grilled Scottish salmon, lemon pesto, wilted spinach, cheese grits, chilled fennel salad”. The pesto, spinach and addition of cheese grits made this a very savory dish, whereas Meehan’s was sweeter. Both delicious, but Meehan’s still wins.

Having not been in the South for a while, I adored the addition of grits in this Atlanta meal. I desperately miss real grits. It complimented the flavor well. The grainy-ness of the grits against the salmon was a little strange in some ways, but I cleaned my plate.

And while I’m not typically a dessert person, when we saw “fried cheesecake” on the menu, we couldn’t resist.

This thing was amazing. Each cheesecake pin wheel melted in your mouth. It reminded me of a warm and crispy cheesecake and cinnamon roll combo, at least a little.

The thin dough, which looked like it might be phyllo dough, was crispy, fell apart in your mouth, and was dusted in cinnamon sugar. The cream of the cheesecake was served warm and was as smooth as a glass of milk. The ice cream paired perfectly with it all, and even when I thought I didn’t actually have the stomach for anymore, I couldn’t wait to finish my part of it.

My entire experience at Max Lager’s was great, but honestly the fried cheesecake made the visit. Even if all you want is something tasty and a drink, and you’re not dying for a meal. Get some ales and split the fried cheesecake with a couple of friends. You will not be disappointed.

But also those burgers and fries smelled delicious. Let me know how they are. 

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