For many years I thought of Kebeer, a small Russian restaurant, as one of my favorite places to eat in Brighton Beach. Imagine my surprise a couple of months ago when I walked by and saw it was no longer there — instead there was a restaurant called Cafe Max. It didn’t look particularly Russian inside, and there was no menu posted in the window, so I assumed everything had changed. Later I did some research and found out that in spite of the American-sounding name they pretty much kept the menu intact from the days of Kebeer. On my next trip to Brighton Beach I decided to stop by and find out the truth. I started my meal with a bowl of the borscht; without the sour cream it’s actually vegan. It’s a great vegetable soup, cut with the sweetness of beets. Strips of onion and cabbage, chunks of potato, and grated raw garlic all added flavor to the soup. For my entree I got the fried potatoes with mushrooms. The potatoes were sliced into thin rounds, and fried until crisp on the outside with a bit of creaminess on the inside. They were topped with sauteed mushrooms, mixed with caramelized onions and more grated raw garlic and some fresh dill. The mix of textures and flavors was a good one, and it was a huge plate of food. It wasn’t quite the same experience I’d had during my visits to Kebeer, but Cafe Max was still pretty good.
Cafe Max — 1003 Brighton Beach Ave