Max’s Opera Cafe, Palo Alto, CA

There are twelve Max’s out here in Northern California. Some of them are Opera Cafes, some Diner’s but they all have a New York deli style menu. Our family met for lunch at the one in Palo Alto this week. Max’s has a giant menu. There are daily specials (meat loaf on Wednesday), giant sandwiches, soups, salads, and dinner-type entrees. There’s also an extensive list of desserts but I’ve never had one of those so I can’t comment on their quality. I think at Max’s your experience depends on what you order. For instance, John always gets the cabbage soup and half a corned beef sandwich on rye. He loves it. I think it carries him back to eating deli in Chicago when he was growing up. Jon and Sarah had the Cobb salad which they both seemed to really enjoy. It is a composed salad with avocado, blue cheese, turkey, bacon, egg, tomato and marinated mushrooms sitting atop a mound of dressed lettuce. Ryan had a half turkey sandwich and matzoh ball soup. I noticed that she didn’t eat much of the sandwich. My problem with the turkey sandwich is that they serve it without condiments on floppy white bread. There are condiments on the table but no mayonnaise – mostly mustard based spreads. But maybe she just got full and the sandwich was perfectly okay. I had grilled vegetables on foccacia. Not a good choice. The vegetables were undercooked and cold. It had a nice small Caesar salad with it. My real choice, if I weren’t always concerned with trying to eat lo-cal, would be a corned beef and chopped liver sandwich. I know, sounds gross, but oh so yummy. Unfortunately, Max’s loads their chopped liver with big hard-cooked egg pieces which totally messes it up. So if you’d like to try this combo, find somewhere else to order it.

P.S. Since the bill came to $80 for the five of us, this is not a cheap eats lunch place.

Family grade (I’m guessing) – B
Marymom’s grade – C-

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