Maximillian's is a chef owned Austrian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, that I had been meaning to try. So I jumped on a Groupon for weekend champagne brunch.
First the good--the restaurant is a pleasant looking converted house and we did not get food poisoning. Given that the sterno was not replaced under the buffet dishes, which had clearly been out a long time, food poisoning was a distinct possibility.
At even the most basic buffet there is one thing you should have a right to expect--plates. Not at Maximillian's. After waiting 10 minutes for our one non-refillable Mimosa, we were told we could help ourselves. There were no plates. We asked a passing waitress, who said she could not get them, we would have to ask the chef. With some reluctance, he gave each of us a plate.
Because the food was cold, and this is humbling for a carnivore to admit, the best dish was mixed greens. In addition there was a chicken dish in a sauce from a can, a pasta dish with no sauce, a beef and rice dish with virtually no beef left, remnants of what once might have been grilled vegetables and an ample platter of poached salmon. Tasting, or rather failing to taste the salmon, solved the mystery of its staying power.
Of course when we went back to get more mixed greens we had to keep the same plates, which still had the food we considered inedible. In fact after getting tired of looking at the food on those plates, we bused them ourselves. We went back to try the desserts. The same routine, we had to beg for plates. We needn't have bothered. After trying the offerings we ordered a passable apple strudel off the menu.
The service was poor, and morale was low. I soon discovered why. They had to eat the same food we had suffered through. At least they had plates.