Known for its signature fried chicken, Max's Wine Dive is taking a giant step for mankind — at least vegetarian mankind — with a Meatless Mondays program that debuts June 24. The restaurant will offer a weekly meatless special prepared by chef Patrick Russell for $14.
To further incentivize the meatless-dining experience, all other vegetarian dishes on the menu will be 25 percent off. Those include Max's mac and cheese, arugula and peach salad, heirloom tomato salad with feta, mozzarella bruschetta, creamy yellow squash soup scented with saffron, and tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich.
"It's true that chicken is the thing at Max's, but we embrace bold ideas," says chef Patrick Russell.
Nightly specials might be pasta, quinoa or a meatless meatloaf, Russell says.
"My sous chef,
Karen Kerin Rodriguez, is a vegetarian, and we've been working on menu items together," he says. "She inspired this, in terms of trying to relate to her and how she eats; that's how it started.
"I like it because it puts me out of my comfort zone. But it's something that I'm definitely interested in. My first fall menu when we opened was a vegetarian risotto, which we also offered in a vegan version."
Meatless Mondays were also observed at New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, which Russell attended. "Aside from eating healthier, it was designed to raise awareness about reducing our impact on the environment, about trying to reduce our carbon footprint and measuring the amount of energy expended to raise livestock," he says.
Even though Max's is a chain, Russell has the autonomy to try this at the Dallas store only. If it does well, they may introduce the idea to other locations.
"It's true that chicken is the thing at Max's, but we embrace bold ideas," he says. "We like the juxtaposition of comfort food meets fine dining meets wine bar. We're trying to all the time stand on our heads."