Magazine article The New Yorker

Max Brenner

Magazine article The New Yorker

Max Brenner

Article excerpt

841 Broadway, between 13th and 14th Sts. (212-388-0030)--Strictly speaking, Max Brenner, "the bald man," doesn't exist. He's a creation of two Israeli marketers, Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner, who opened a chocolate shop in Raanana ten years ago. Still, Oded Brenner, who is, in fact, bald, has assumed the role (Fichtman is no longer involved), and, in pursuit of global choco-domination, he has issued a slew of grandiose pronouncements about his "chocolate love story" and his mission to create "a new chocolate culture." Did the founders of Friendly's make such claims for their ice cream?

The Union Square franchise, which has been open for six months (a new outlet opened last week in the East Village), would seem to be a chocoholic's dream, cluttered with vats of molten chocolate, clear apothecary flasks of what appear to be cocoa powders and spices, and brown pipes overhead, which, despite signs indicating otherwise, are almost certainly not full of the stuff. A menu full of glistening photographs offers chocolate in many guises. (There is also regular food--oily croques-madames, hulking crepes, omelettes as big as handbags--that should be summoned from the kitchen only if you have meal guilt to assuage or kids to nourish. …

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