We were in Fargo on a Sunday night and a surprising number of restaurants are closed. We also wanted something more than chain food but didn't feel like too formal a meal. Luckily, we found Maxwell's and noticed that there was an option to dine in the bar area (something we almost never do). We called on short notice and the friendly hostess assured us that it was a quiet evening but she would hold a high-top bar table for us just in case.
We arrived at the strip mall location and were instantly impressed by the hip, modern interior decor. The restaurant area was straight ahead although the tables were largely hidden from view lendign to intimacy, the open kitchen was to the right and the sporty bar was to the left. We took the bar table in the corner near two windows and began perusing the impressive menu, which was essentially the restaurant's entire menu - bar and dining room - since anything could be ordered in the bar. The bar menu, focusing on smaller plates, was exactly what we were in the mood for and we began ordering dish after dish, planning to graze our way through the evening. But anyone wanting that more formal dinign expereince would have been overjoyed at the full dinner menu, with each dish sounding more interesting than the next.
The helpful bartender also brought us several tasters of craft beers and we settled on the Nebraska Vanilla Porter. Then the dishes started coming out and everything was excellent - sweet potato bisque with chipotles had just the right bite and thick texture; day boat scallops and lobster wrapped in prosciutto were succulent and bursting with flavor; bison meatballs in a vermouth cream sauce were amazingly tender and flavorful; and the crunchy sweet potato fries were among the best we've had anywhere. No typical bar food here!
Since we had no room for desert, we finished the evening with a nice talk at the pass with the young chef, Michael, who clearly is going places, considering all that he has accomplished so far. This restuarant would be notable in any major city, that it dominates the culinary firmament in Fargo is no surprise. We could eat here every night for a week and never be bored, and probably never be disappointed.