Chez Maxime-Titusville- 4.0-Stars
"Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short." -- Newman
The dining landscape of Titusville is as barren as Tatooine's 2nd moon. I knew I couldn't be the only one to notice this gaping hole in Titusville and low and behold, the owners of Chez Maxime saw the need for some fine French cuisine and promptly filled it without the usual accompanying airs of superciliousness. This is noticed at once by the unassuming brick wall that fronts the space next to Beall's Outlet in the Titusville Mall off of Washington Ave.
Once inside, however, you know immediately that you are in a French restaurant with pictures of the Paris skyline complete with Eiffel tower adorning the walls. The interior decor may have said, "French," but the menu told me it was "Titusville French." What I mean by that is since the choices for fine dining are severely limited in this neck of the woods, Chez Maxime's menu reflects the preferences of the local gourmands. With that said, the menu consisted of French, Greek and Italian inspired food ranging from Escargot Provencal to Hummus, it was multidisciplinary, to say the least. My server for the meal was Kate. I knew this without asking as, like most professional servers, Kate introduced herself upon greeting, set our complimentary basket of warm bread down and proceeded to go over the menu including the specials of the day.
Kate was attentive to detail and her customers without sacrificing her charm and is now on the BBDO short list of best servers in Brevard. Kudos, Kate!! I asked Kate for an order of Escargot a la Provencal, Boeuf Bourguignon and a Poulet Crepe.
As Kate hurried off to place our order, my thoughts returned to the Gourmet scene in Titusville. What scene, you ask? I know, it's tough to be a gastronome in this part of the Space Coast, but if the food tasted as well as the menu read, this place may just be the start of something big for the area. Absently, I grabbed some of the bread, slapped some butter on it and popped it in my mouth. As a chef down in Vero Beach once told me, "the bread is the first contact with the customer and should set the standard for the meal." As this was your basic pull and warm bread, I became slightly skeptical as to what I would be dining on today. Soon enough my questions would be answered as I saw Kate returning with our meal.
Starting with the snails, were in a brackish Hollandaise sauce and looked disgusting, this was a good thing because, after just one taste I could not stop eating them. They were amazingly bursting with flavor on the palate and a great start to the meal. Cooked with fresh Provencal butter that had to be made on site along with the made to order Hollandaise sauce, these were a true delight to devour and devour I did! Sadly the crostini that came on the side was a tad overcooked for my liking and prohibited sopping up all the sauce in which the escargot was so lovingly resting.
Next up on the BBDO palate was the order of Boeuf (Beef) Bourguignon. This is basically beef stew the French way and as such is a widely known French dish. It is traditionally made with Burgundy wine, hence the name refers to the wine in this case and not the region itself (unlike the wine). While I didn't think the beef used in this dish was USDA Prime, but Choice, it was outstanding nonetheless. It's gotta be the sauce! Again proving to the Big Boy and my reading public that in the hands of a master, even canned ingredients can be delicious, the chef took canned mushrooms and added them to a made in house burgundy sauce that had to begin with homemade beef stock as it was out of this world. The side salad, however, was doomed to be offered in Titusville and as such consisted of the local favorite Iceberg lettuce with some shredded carrots tossed on top and a few tomato wedges slapped on the side along with a tiny ramekin of bottled vinaigrette (with two choices of dressings I found this to be severely limiting.)
The final item to sample was the order of Poulet (Chicken) Crepe. As these looked amazing and fell decidedly flat on the palate, I thought the crepe was slightly overcooked and the ingredients as a whole to be of average quality. Again, and please don't take this the wrong way, but Titusville is not known for it's outstanding Haute Cuisine scene and Chez Maxime has a long way to go in educating their clientele, so I understand the state of the crepe and can only think that as the public comes around, the food quality will improve. The sides of potato wedge and fresh peas were delectable and certainly added to the saving grace of the Poulet Crepe as a dish.
The Big Boy says, "When in Titusville and in the mood for something upscale, yet not pretentious, check out Chez Maxime and bon appetit!"