Is It Any Good?

Your neighborhood Italian joint…in Highland Park.

Maximiliano on Urbanspoon
Maximiliano on Foodio54

Have you been to Highland Park lately? I haven’t…and I’m thinking that needs to change.

Last time I cruised through there it was mostly Mexican Grocery stores and Auto Repair Shops.

Well, the Grocery Stores and Repair Shops are still there, but there is a definite hipster element moving into the area, and…that may not be a bad thing.

Yes, I know. Hipsters and their…well…Hipster ways. What are you going to do? Most of the time they’re just young whippersnappers that I want off my lawn.

But they do likey the food. They likey the goooood food, and Maximiliano’s will serve some up for you.

I can’t call it my favorite Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles, that distinction still belongs to Osteria Mamma, but the vibe’s very similar…and I really liked being here. I’m the rare foodie in that I place a higher premium on someone just trying to get it right and serve up a good meal, instead of trying to reorganize the entire world of gastronomy. If you can get me into your place, sit me down, make me comfortable, and more importantly let me know that you are happy to have me there, then that’s worth all it’s weight in gold.

Maximiliano’s is worth all it’s weight in gold…and then some.

I tell you, it’s got a funky shape to it. It’s sitting on this oddball, pie-shaped corner, so the restaurant itself has a oddball, pie shape to it. Quelle surprise. But the mood is relaxed. Not a trace of stuffiness or formality to be seen. And thank God for that. The last thing I want to put up with on a Friday night is to walk into a place, with a Bartender or a Waiter giving you the stink-eye. “What, pray tell are you doing here??”

And amazingly still, we had a Waitstaff that actually presented the Specials in such a way that it knocked me off my order. I am serious. I was all in for Cacio E Peppe, and our Waiter make the Roast Pork Shank so tender, delicious and unbelievably rare, I just had to go in. And best of all, I did not regret it.

Wine, bread, good desserts, and a level of comfort most restaurants should envy. I see why this place was recommended to me.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Okay, the Porkcutta was damn good. It was a tied up Pork Shank, kind of similar to a Char-siu cut of Japanese Pork you might get at a Ramen house. The skin was left up and made candy crispy, served on a bed of mashed potatoes and greens. Nice meal. Nice balance of sweet, salty, creamy, fatty and bitter. Couple that with a couple glasses of good Chianti, and I was in heaven.

That being said, Anthony Bourdain has converted me to the great cause of Cacio E Peppe, and that I’ll have it any chance I get, until I make it to that place he filmed in Rome.

Topping it all off, I had the Olive Oil Ice Cream with Sea Salt Caramel topping. Quite nice. You don’t exactly taste the Olive Oil in the Ice Cream, but it was a lovely, smooth experience. The dish come in three, tiny sized scoops. They don’t mention in the menu, but you get a couple of triangle shaped cookies to go with. One person can finish it off decently easily…depending on what you had for dinner.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Interesting. It seems that Maximiliano of Highland Park is owned by, or least part of the Group that handles The Oinkster.  Hmm.  Did not know that.

There are two entrances to the Restaurant. One is right behind the Valet stand. It however is NOT the main entrance to the place, which is at the narrow end of the pie shape of the place. That’s where you’ll find the Hostess station, and where you check in if you have a reservation.

 

PARKING: This was a new neighborhood for me, and I didn’t much feel like exploring around for parking, hence I went with Valet. There was a guy right there, right in front of that second entrance. It seemed like the easier deal than trying to find a place myself…though one of my dining companions was able to do just that down the block.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Maximiliano of Highland Park
5930 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Tel: (323) 739-6125

Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm