Maxon’s American Grill has gone from serving steaks to topping tater tots, and their clientele couldn’t be happier.
One could be forgiven for expecting a different Maxon’s than the one shown on its website. A photo of a richly marbled sliced strip steak hints at its earlier incarnation as a steakhouse. The menu, now, is pub casual.
Maxon’s is not fancy or fussy, but comfortable and friendly, with classic comfort food and pub fare in a relaxed atmosphere.
The small, one-story building on Guilderland Avenue has a delineated bar and dining space. The wood tables and padded chairs are comfortable and functional, the carpet is patterned gray, with black painted drop ceiling and gray and white decor.
“They certainly have a wide variety of things to choose from,” observed my friend Kathy.
It’s casual pub food, familiar stuff like wings, burgers, salads and sandwiches, a few entrees like balsamic chicken ($13.99) and brown-sugar-glazed salmon ($13.99), including sides. If you have a thing for those small, barrel-shaped fried potato products (all varieties $9.99), you’re in the right place. Choose breakfast tots with bacon, cheddar, chipotle aioli and fried eggs, or sloppy tots made with homemade sloppy joe and cheddar cheese sauce. Likewise, Philly steak sandwiches ($10.99 with sides), presented in classic, chicken and Italian forms.
The place was hopping on a weeknight, with folks at the bar and in booths, as well as several groups of multigenerational families and some couples at tables.
Kathy had one of Maxon’s signature drinks, a blushing pink seaside martini made with grapefruit gin, that she said tasted “light and refreshing.” In contrast, my Pinot Grigio came from a list recited by the server. Maxon’s always has local and craft beers on tap, including two from Wolf Hollow Brewery in Glenville.
I like to think the pork rolls ($8.99) we started with are the Polish version of Chinese egg rolls. A serving is three, and they look just like what you’d expect: Chinese egg rolls. Filled with an abundance of long-cooked, sweetly seasoned shredded pork, they are unexpectedly wonderful. Thin slices of carrot and celery gave color to the filling, and the accompanying chipotle ranch sauce was sweet with a bit of smokiness and heat.
“They’re not very Asian but they’re good,” said Kathy, after we’d each finished one. Looking at the plate, she added “Let’s cut this thing in half and finish it.”
Kathy followed up with Uncle Buck’s meatloaf ($12.99), comfort food on a plate topped with delicious, thick mushroom gravy.
“The potatoes have the skins on,” Kathy observed, and added, “There are nice slices of white mushroom in the gravy.” The meatloaf was tender, tasty and delicious, and there was plenty left over for another meal.
The broccoli could have been given a bit more attention, but overall, the verdict was “very good.”
Maxon’s uses a better-than-average steak for its steak salad ($14.99), and cooked it medium-rare as requested. But I said to hold the blue cheese crumbles, and they were everywhere. The server took care of it right away.
“They made you a whole new one,” she said, returning in just a few minutes with a new plate, this one topped with a jaunty American flag.
I liked the steak very much. It was a sirloin piece, tender and flavorful from marinade. The salad didn’t come together, since I didn’t top the whole bowl with blue cheese dressing, and the components could have looked a little more appealing. The mushrooms and cucumber slices were thick and though the tomato was cubed and fresh, the lettuce ends were a bit browned. Good dressing, though, and I finished the steak.
There was some confusion over what desserts were available, so we skipped but next time we’ll give the homemade ones a try. Our efficient server brought the check and wrapped the leftovers, and we were on our way.
The tab for our food came to $36.97 without drinks, and before tax and tip. With all, it was $63.59.
The restaurant was bustling, with many platters of topped tots delivered to happy customers. Clearly Maxon’s has hit the right note with its clientele.
Maxon’s American Grill
WHERE: 2544 Guilderland Ave., Rotterdam, 518-382-1038, maxonsgrill.com
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $36.97 for food, before tax and tip
MORE INFO: ACA compliant. Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Reservations accepted.