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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Maverick: Restaurant Review

What took me so long to try Maverick, the cozy American eatery in the Mission? I really can't say. But I like to give a restaurant plenty of time to sort out the kinks before giving it a try and if last week's dinner was any indication, kinks are pretty much nonexistent at this point. Everything we had was terrific and the servers were knowledgeable and welcoming.

Eating with food bloggers and their partners means plenty of bites for sharing so I got to taste a fair selection of the menu. Fortunately portions are very large and fine for wandering forks. I ordered the venison as a main and can't remember the last time I got such a big loin rather than a few fanned slices. The black lentils were firm and nutty flavored, a nice accompaniment to the rich and sweet yet by no means gamey venison and velvety chanterelle mushrooms. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the textures of the crisp yams and fine parsnip puree provided nice bite.

The fried chicken was a real pleaser, with subtle cinnamon spicing and creamy mashed potatoes but again the portion was enormous leading to doggie bags all around. My favorite dish might have been the roasted cauliflower. I know it doesn't sound exciting but it was incredible. It had smoky notes and a juicy, buttery sauce. My other favorite dish was my starter, a grilled radicchio salad that was filled with contrasting textures and unique flavor combinations, crunchy sunchokes chips, pungent dry jack cheese, silky poached egg, bitter greens and a luscious mustard vinaigrette. An Alsatian Pinot Gris Vote de Rouffach 2001 worked wonderfully with all of our selections. It was light and refreshing with a juiciness and acidity which accounted for us downing two bottles.

Desserts were over the top. The chocolate bread pudding was so chocolatey it was practically more chocolate than pudding, but in a good way. The homemade cookies appealed even to the white chocolate abstainers in the group. The pecan pie was decadent and rich, and too much for us to finish.

While my neighborhood is filled with wonderful places to eat, I kind of wish Maverick was here too. Monday nights they offer 40% off any bottle of wine, which is enticement enough for me to indulge even on a school night. To be fair, probably because it also serves as a wine bar, the regular prices on the terrific selection of wines were quite reasonable. The restaurant was packed and with friendly service, great hearty food and a warm vibe it's no surprise.