Maxie’s Southern Comfort is located just off Interstate 94 in Wauwatosa. The restaurant is in the former Gerry O’Brien’s meat market at 6731 W. Fairview Avenue. The bar is on the first floor and provides ample room for you to enjoy a cocktail, beer, or wine while you wait for your table. If you go on a weekend you will likely have to wait because they don’t take reservations. You can however call ahead and they will add your name to the waiting list. They offer all kinds of beer from local micros to imports. They even have one of my all-time favorite beers, Bells Two Hearted Ale, on tap
I tried a cup of the gumbo, the measuring stick by which all creole restaurants should be judged by. Maxie’s passed the test with flying colors. The gumbo was nice and smoky with a deep flavor imparted by the expertly browned roux. It was filled with a good amount of chicken, crawfish, and andoulle and some rice. A bowl of this would make an excellent meal in and of itself. The corn and crab chowder was also very good.
I went with shrimp and grits, something I have never eaten before. You have the option of a half order ($11.95) or a full order ($17.50) and you can add andoulle for an additional $3.50. I went with the half-order and a side of grilled andoulle. The large ,plump shrimp were in a spicy red sauce with chunks of tasso (smoky spicy ham) served atop a sizable portion of rich and creamy grits that helped tame the spiciness. If you are still equating grits with the runny watery version served at southern truck stops or the Shoney’s buffet these will change your opinion after the first bite. The andoulle was good but since my recent visit to New Orleans where I fell in love with the rich, smoky taste and texture of Jacob’s Andoulle I have become a andoulee snob. The stuff from local stores just doesn’t cut it anymore. Not that andoulle produced by Klement’s or Usingers is bad, its just not the same.
The Maxie’s Deluxe Crabcake Platter ($18.95) was also a hit. The slightly spicy cakes are more crab than filler which is always a good thing. They are drizzled with a cajun mayo and served with a side of their “rwb” slaw (a unique and delicious slaw with blue cheese), some decent creole rice and some great sweet potato fries. I had a bite of the Carolina Pulled Pork ($12.95) and it was definitely something I would try again.
Maxie’s is one of the best new restaurants in the area and best of all it is casual and fun. The servers and bartenders are friendly and do an excellent job. We were on a tight schedule and our server made sure that we got everything in a timely manner, which was quite a feat on a Saturday evening. I don’t have a single complaint about any aspect of my visit and I would strongly recommend this place to anyone.
EatWisconsin Rating: 4 out of 5.
Rating Guide: 0=Absolutely terrible, avoid at all costs, 1=Bad, 2=Mediocre/Average, 3= Admirable, 4=Excellent, 5=Sublime