Mr Max: A True Hidden Gem

Mr. Max is a quaint Japanese restaurant that’s deceivingly tucked away in a grungy shopping center in Irving, TX. Located right behind a donut shop and right next to a sketchy hair salon, Mr Max matches the low-key attitude of the plaza with its plain sign and exterior. However, as you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by friendly workers from the host stand to the kitchen.

Mr. Max is set up to resemble an izakaya (an informal, casual Japanese restaurant), and  there are only two seating options: bar seats or Japanese-style floor seats (a fun option for larger parties). The Japanese floor tables and quaintness of the restaurant gives Mr. Max a comforting and homey feeling.

If you read Yelp reviews, many claim Mr. Max as an “authentic” Japanese restaurant, and I couldn’t agree more. Even though I haven’t been to Japan nor have any credentials to claim Mr. Max’s authenticity, I can tell by the menu selection, the prices, the ambience, the service and the quality of the food that Mr. Max is a restaurant aimed to stay true to its Japanese roots. Additionally, Mr. Max (who recently passed away) is claimed by many as a lovely man who was passionate and putted a lot of love into his food. After his death, the restaurant closed down temporarily, but is now being operated by a Japanese restaurant group. The new Mr. Max made changes to the menu, but supposedly kept some of the original menu items. Although I’ve never been to the original Mr. Max, I was still pleasantly surprised by the new Mr. Max — and will be definitely coming back again.

The menu offers a variety of Japanese dishes that are not commonly found at sushi or teppenyaki restaurants. Mr. Max reminds me of a Japanese tapas style restaurant. There are a lot of small dishes to choose from as well as sashimi, ramen and udon noodles. Overall, great menu selection with so many delicious options to choose from! However, my boyfriend and I decided on a half-order of the tonkatsu ramen, karasge (Japanese fried chicken), homemade curry and grilled squid.

half an order of tonkatsu ramen

half an order of tonkatsu ramen

karasge with a side of mayo

karasge with a side of mayo

grilled squid

grilled squid

  • Tonkatsu Ramen – The half bowl is perfect for someone like me — big appetite, small stomach. The ramen was delicious — the broth was flavorful and the noodles had a nice bite to it.
  • Karasge – Crispy and tender. Mainly dark meat so it got a little too greasy for me.
  • Homemade curry – Like the name suggests, it tastes homemade as in it’s simple yet delicious. The curry tastes like a green curry with ground beef, garnished with some kind or relish and served with rice.
  • Grilled squid – For about $5 you get a whole entire grilled squid that is fresh and delicious — you can’t beat that.

The best part is that all of this only costed my bf and I $24 (without tip)! In addition to the good food, the service was great. Everyone was attentive and kept checking-in and refilling our waters.

Additionally,  our dinner from the moment we entered and left was only 35 minutes long — and we were taking our time! This is evident of their fast and wonderful service. Tip: If you want to order a few of their smaller dishes, I would suggest order a couple first and the rest later; all of the food comes out fast and all at once.


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