Chef Chat, Part 3 - Michael Pellegrino of Max's Wine Dive

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

In Chef Chats parts one and two, we talked with Max's Wine Dive Chef Pellegrino about his creative contributions to the restaurant's menu. Then we tried two of them.

The Hungry-Max is a revisit to the grade-school cafeteria lines, with the items served in its nostalgic compartments changing depending on seasonality. The Hungry-Max shown here came with a wild game meatloaf of venison and buffalo. Layered into this loaf were an assortment of different roasted peppers (bell, poblano and Anaheim) and a special house barbecue sauce. It was topped with a delectable mushroom gravy that seeped nicely into the fluffy loaf. Served up alongside it were some more old-school staples: mashed potatoes, corn (in this case a jalapeño corn succotash), cornbread and a little dessert (apple strawberry cobbler). This dish made me feel like a kid again. Of course, this time around, I felt like more like Richie Rich than the little confused Vietnamese boy munching on his first chimichanga, but you get the picture.

The crackling chicken is a skin-on but boneless chicken breast and thigh. The skin side is seared on a screaming-hot skillet so that it crackles and crisps as if it was deep-fried. The crackling chicken is then roasted in the oven and served with a mushroom risotto. The lightly seasoned chicken was a great complement to risotto perfectly shaken, not stirred, with chicken stock, butter and Parmesan until nice and creamy. The dish was finished with a little bit of chives on top and some truffle oil. The perfectly cooked chicken in both dark and white meat varieties pleased the palate, and the chicken and the risotto together danced on the tongue, while the truffle oil and spring mushrooms added a sophisticated yet subtle flavor to the dish.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.