Very fresh seafood, great service. A bit overpriced but then again, all restaurants in West Hartford center are. Definitely a place to be seen. I recommend.
Nice place to meet a client for a drink.
I am a Divorce Coach/Consultant with clients in CT, MA, and NY. I enjoy the Max line of restaurants to meet clients for a drink. I have always been pleased. No complaints!
Horrible service and undercooked food.
Honestly, I will never come back to this restaurant ever again, and would not recommend it to anyone. This was my second time coming here. We made lunch reservations and were promptly seated. That was really the only plus out of this entire experience.
Our waiter was horribly slow and inattentive. It felt as if we we inconveniencing him. The only time we actually experienced any personality out of him was when he was preparing our check! And considering that it wasn't horribly packed with patrons for lunch, I would have liked to see more efficient service than what we received.
Our waiter did not listen to us when we placed our drink orders and omitted specifics, and didn't come back until much later. (So if you are brave and decide to go there, don't go in hungry, because it might be awhile--which kind of defeats the purpose, right!?).
My husband and I each opted to try their paella--which was excellent when we were there previously. I could not believe that the rice in both entrees were semi-cooked! Since the rice was not cooked thoroughly, I wondered how thoroughly cooked the seafood was.. Unbelievable, what kind of restaurant (namely a *seafood* restaurant with a Zagat rating) serves food that is undercooked!? Thank goodness we got appetizers! (The spicy calamari, was very good, by the way). Bread was not served until requested. Thank goodness we asked after we spied one table of patrons who did have a bread basket.
We did have our turtle of a waiter take the food back to be cooked thoroughly. There was no apology and no compensation. Twenty minutes later, and with disappointed appetites, we received our paella cooked.
My husband and I are both foodies and love to go out and experience different restaurants throughout CT and the surrounding areas. At this point, I hesitate to even suggest another Max group restaurant. I have never had this type of service or food served in this manner. Zagat rated!? Hahahaha! Save your time and money and go to Flemmings (which is right around the corner with excellent food and service) or any Billy Grant restaurant. With much regret, we should have gone there.
good scene. bad drinks but a fun scene. lots of yuppies can be found on most weekends. i prefer going on a weeknight
Max's is more important than your complaints. I had the salmon tonight and found a piece of cracked plastic or glass in the meal. Upon my complaint, they didn't feel that it was particularly important to make the situation right. No apologies were rendered and no compensation was offered.
Disappointing meal. Someone needs to teach these folks how to make bloody mary's. Terrible drinks.... it was more like a tomatoe and horseradish. Wait staff spent plenty of time talking to folks at the table next to us...in fact while handing us dessert menu's he was still talking to them. Shrimp wrapped in proscuitto was so salty!!!! And paella had no flavor at all!!! Way too bland. Will not return.
Great service and martinis.
I don't know why the past few reviewers are complaining about the service, because I, too, grew up in West Hartford and have always found that the Max line of restaurants truly knows how to make a customer feel appreciated. The service at the Oyster Bar may feel a bit more rushed just because it's one of the more popular and vivacious places in West Hartford Center, but it's still above and beyond what you'd receive anywhere else.
Although I'm not an oyster person, there's enough non-oyster cuisine to please anyone. They bring out an interesting (and delicious) plate of carrots with a mustard dressing, which is a nice alternative to the standard loaf of bread. They also provide thin crackers with butter, which are also incredibly good. The martini list is incredible--check out the bloody oyster if you like bloody mary's--and you can find great deals with their grand prix 3-course options. For $25 (and sometimes less), you get an amazing 3-course meal.
Finally, the Oyster Bar provides some excellent people-watching, whether you're outside on Farmington Avenue or inside the beautifully decorated and spacious interior. It doesn't hurt to have good eye candy ;)
Reasons to hate Pretentious West Hartford.
I have lived in CT all my life. I grew up only 8 miles from West Hartford. For some reason, all my friends want to live in West Hartford but I'll stay put exactly where I am because this place epitomizes all that is disgusting about West Hartford Center.
I have been frequenting this restaurant off and on for about 4 years now. I will only go once a year only because all my friends continue to think this restaurant is the bomb.
First off, the wait staff is doing YOU the favor of allowing you to sit at a table. Oh, you're the customer and have the money? Doesn't matter. Queen Elizabeth could sit in here and they would still treat her like mud.
Though the food is very good, the service staff is mega-snooty. I have been here three times and I always beg people in my party to be on time. Why? Because if anyone is more than 5 minutes late and the table has one empty chair, get ready for nasty stares from all the wait staff that walk by your table. How many stares will that be? Well, you'll be sitting there for 3 hours waiting for you dinner to come out and that's a lot of wait staff death glares. I absolutely hate the wait staff at this establishment. What I hate more is that I have to give them so much money for such a ridiculous experience.
Are you doing them a favor by giving them your business? Guess not. Too darn loud, couldn't even have a conversation or hear anyone at a small round table of seven. Food took 1.5 hours to come out once we ordered it. Three hours sitting in a restaurant where you can't have a conversation and the prices are over the top is enough. The waiter was not to be found at times and when we paid with plastic he had the air of a martyred saint because he had to swipe several cards. OH MY GOD? You mean you have to work for a 20% tips. With this place, I didn't want to leave a tip at all.
West Hartford isn't all it's cracked up to be and Max's Oyster Bar isn't anything more than a puffed up peacock. No real substance. You're better off taking your money elsewhere. Not only will you get a better meal at a more decent price, the other establishments will actually appreciate your patronage and show you that. And you might even be able to hear and not have to shout at your table companions.
Any reviews where this place is "perfect" is definitely put up by Max staff or owners. Max's Oyster Bar, please read this and read carefully: There is a recession going on. Even if there wasn't, people work hard for their money and expect and should get a good experience when they are dropping this kind of money on dinner. You really need to polish up your act. If it was up to me as an owner, I'd fire the wait staff, reduce the damn noise in the bar (aka sports bar) and actually pay attention to my patrons.
Awful, You'd think service would be better in a declining economy..
Wow. What an awful experience. The dinner was rushed in this very loud restaurant. Waiter forgot to bring our order of oysters for appetizers and the side dishes we were supposed to have with dinner. When oysters did finally come, they were out of some of the ones we ordered. We were just about finished eating when the tiny side orders finally came. My NY strip was ordered medium and came out rare. My friends seared tuna entree was appetizer sized. Everything was overpriced for what you got. Servers were clueless. Table was the wrong size for our group even though we did have a reservation. Bar TVs were distracting. Desserts were pedestrian.
And to top it all off, the waiter ran my credit card through twice so my overpriced $400 meal, actually costed $800. Never again.
We just weren't hip enough.. This restaurant is a bustling, New York-style place with New York-style prices. That being said, there are some fine things to be found here. My advice would be to focus on the specials of the day. We've found menu items to be disappointing, or over-the-top mish-mashes of tastes and textures when more simplicity would do. The oysters are good; but for the sparkling freshness one expects of a restaurant which specializes in these crustaceans, it disappoints too frequently. One order which contained four oysters which were actually so bad as to have a pungent odor was taken back cheerfully and other, better specimens replaced. Service was very good but they were slow on the draw to re-fill cocktails on more than one occasion. We like to take first-time visitors to West Hartford here, because beside the service and array of culinary delights, it's a very, very beautiful restaurant. But we don't go at night any more because the bar becomes unusually loud and worse, the servers fawn over the bar patrons, striking up conversation with regulars, leaving us feeling left alone in the wilderness in the dining room. The same experience happens when one of the many celebrities who frequent the place shows up; everyone drops the tables belonging to hoi-polloi like us and surrounds the table. We were surprised they didn't offer to shine the shoes of a gentleman who showed up, with entourage, in a limousine. I'd suggest lunch here to be able to enjoy the experience and cuisine and not feel hopelessly un-cool. Drinks were generous and a good value. The wine list, while overpriced, is outstanding.
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