When looking for great Japanese places, I’ve heard whispers of the legendary Mr. Max in Irving. An authentic hole in the wall that beckons foodies to come and get a taste of authentic Japanese food. Unfortunately, when I did hear about them last year, the restaurant had closed due to the passing of the original owner. After some time, Mr. Max quietly reopened on Feb 1st with a limited menu. I hear that it was bought out by Las Vegas based Mon Group who is also working on another Japanese/ramen concept, Monta Ramen. It’s slated to open later this year.
One random Tuesday night, I met a friend at the restaurant for dinner. Finding the restaurant was a bit of challenge at night. Pulling up and seeing the dark restaurant , I thought maybe I made a mistake. The place was janky lookin’! But after I walked in, I was greeted by a warm, bright and small dining room. I felt as though I was transported to a small restaurant in Japan (or least that’s how I’d imagine a Japanese restaurant to be).
The place was busy for Tuesday night, but our timing was great. Snagged ourselves a table and started to plan strategically what we wanted to order. With only two tummies to fill, the space could not be wasted on nonsense.
The menus were in English fortunately. Here’s what we ordered! For starters, we had the chicken karage and the fried squid legs. The chicken karage was tasty and crispy. It’s usually dubbed “fried chicken.”
Fried squid legs. Not to be confused with calamari. Dashed some lemon juice and good to go.
I was really looking forward to the Tonkatsu ramen. Perhaps this is the way ramen is supposed to be, no frills. I still couldn’t help but feel disappointed at how lackluster the dish looked. The broth looks promising, but was somewhat bland and one-noted. At the very least, I expected complex flavors that just warm you from the insides out, but that wasn’t the case. The meat was excellent and I liked the noodles, but I wouldn’t get this again. On to the next one. Maybe the Taiwanese ramen?
The Omakase was $30 for 10 pieces of sashimi. Incredibly fresh. Loved it. Not to nitpick, but wish they did a better job with the presentation. It looked very sparse.
Onigiri. These were two bucks a pop so we ordered all of them. Salmon, Pickled plum, spicy cod roe, and Bonito flake rice balls. So simple, but so yummy. Felt like I was in a Japanese anime.
I’m glad to have been able to check Mr. Max off my To-Eat list. I would come back to check out some of their other dishes. Since they don’t really have a website yet, I took some ghetto snap shots of the menu for ya. Pricing is cheap. Our bill total was $78 bucks (all food pictured plus an extra bowl of ramen). Anyway, if you do make it here, let me know how you like it!