There’s an old house on Shine Avenue in Thornton Park that was turned into a restaurant. It’s nestled among other historic houses in a really cute neighborhood, but for some reason the restaurant occupying the home never sticks. Each iteration had a similar theme: Italian comfort food. Kevin and I first went there on one of our first dates when it was called Bravissimo. Then it became Shine Neighborhood Kitchen, which we loved. Now it has become Maxine’s on Shine. Kevin and I tried this third version with our friends Daniel and Alia who just moved downtown from Avalon Park. (Alia is my friend who instructs at The Pilates Loft.)
Maxine’s was hopping on Saturday night, and the entire street smelled like garlic, making my stomach super excited. After ordering a round of drinks, we started our meal out with bruschetta.
The bruschetta was delicious. You could taste the freshness of the mozzarella on the thick French bread. I really enjoyed all of the flavors and the freshness of the ingredients. Unfortunately, the bruschetta would be the highlight of the meal.
I actually ordered an appetizer for my main dish because they had mussels, which sounded delicious at that particular moment.
The menu described the sauce as a white wine garlic sauce, which I didn’t really get from what was presented. I didn’t taste any garlic, and the sauce just tasted like tomatoes. I actually prefer the mussels at Bonefish. I’ve come to the conclusion that Bonefish’s sauce on their mussels is unbeatable.
Overall, I felt like everything we had, besides the bruschetta, was under seasoned. Everything tasted very bland and didn’t match the wonderful aromas that perfumed the neighborhood.
Kevin ordered the Chicken Maxine’s, which is their version of chicken marsala.
I really liked the creaminess of the sauce and the variety of mushrooms in the dish, but it still fell short in terms of seasonings. Some extra flavors would have really brought everything together to make a full flavored dish. I also tried a bite of Alia’s chicken parmigiana, which had the same verdict: lack of flavor.
Daniel, on the other hand, loved his dish. He also ordered an appetizer as his main dish. It also happened to be a special of that evening: fish quesadillas.
My favorite thing about Shine Neighborhood Kitchen was their cheesecake. It tasted so fresh and light. After trying it, I constantly craved it for a week. I needed to know if the desserts at Maxine’s were as tasty. We ordered a bacon chocolate cheesecake to share.
The flavors were really interesting. I actually liked the crispy bacon with the dark chocolate shell over the top of the cheesecake. It made for a nice sweet and salty combination. The cheesecake, however, was not as good as Shine’s cheesecake. It was very dense. If you like a denser cheesecake, you would probably enjoy this. I just prefer lighter cheesecakes, and Shine’s had a really homemade taste.
The ambiance at Maxine’s was also odd. They have musical entertainment, but the restaurant is very small, so the music overpowers any hopes of conversation. It would work great if the space was bigger so the noise could diffuse, but it just bounced off the ceiling and walls and pounded our eardrums.
Overall, I’d recommend Maxine’s on Shine for some drinks and maybe appetizers. They have a great wine list. I just wasn’t thrilled about the dinner or atmosphere.
Have you ever tried bacon for dessert?