If you are not familiar with Gloucester City, you will think your GPS system has gone bonkers, because Max's is tucked away on a narrow residential street, not on a busy downtown avenue. But once inside, you are in a totally different place. The bar area is so gorgeous, I almost wanted to skip dinner and simply sip martinis. The restaurant area is not as handsome as the bar, but still pleasant. My motto--when in a seafood restaurant, order the seafood-- holds true for Max's. We ordered the mussels on two visits, and they were consistently big and tender, cooked just right and not rubbery. The raw oysters were not shucked as cleanly as I would have desired. I am very picky about proper shucking, having no wish to lose a tooth (been there, done that, albeit with a crab shell). My one complaint is the bread, which was fresh but boring. The mussel sauce begged to be mopped up with a properly hearty loaf. The salmon and tilapia dishes were nicely seasoned and were not overcooked. The star of the dinner was the flash-fried soft shelled crab. The crab tasted as if it was caught right before it when into the fryer. I had never before tasted such a briny and flavorful crab. My husband ordered the soft shelled crab in a sauté sauce, which was tasty, but was not as sea-salty as was the fried version. We usually skip dessert, but the key lime pie seemed the right ending to the crab dishes, and it was, with a tasty and nutty crust. South Jersey has a shortage of decent seafood restaurants, so we are happy we found Max's. We will be returning soon.
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