Already named San Francisco’s best new restaurant by San Francisco Magazine, I take my first step into Maverick American Eatery and Wine Bar to see if it will hold it’s reputation.
Arriving around seven pm on a Friday night, they had a table available and I took my seat. There are only twenty or so tables in the restaurant making the maximum capacity no more than seventy five. Although the restaurant is very compact the noise level was moderate and the ambiance mellow. Lined with soft red color walls and a small design of a mountain range repeating all the way down, it made this already cozy atmosphere much more comfortable.
The menu is diverse throwing out classics, with a combination of new and unique dishes to satisfy the ever so curious diner. Offering anything from a sweet corn salad or fried green tomatoes to start; to a roasted pumpkin steak with a tomatillo sauce and cumin crème fresche.
For my first course I chose the grilled squid salad with grilled fennel and a sweet lemon vinaigrette. The squid was not to tough, firm enough to compliment the softness and absorb the smokiness of the grilled fennel. Contrasting flavors of sweet and sour in the lemon vinaigrette, made the balance of this dish a very enjoyable first course.
Next up was a second course of a wild mushroom soup. Potato was used instead of cream as to keep the body of the soup light and the flavors of the mushroom forward. Just a slight touch of chives and a little olive oil made this dish simple yet enjoyable.
For the entrée, I went with a recommended special for the evening , a pan seared fluke fish on a bed of grits with diced corn and zucchini and a warm bacon vinaigrette. The flavors of this dish give you a down home feel, but the presentation of the dish pushed it up a notch for me. The warm bacon vinaigrette was the base of the dish with the grits on top holding up the filets of fluke fish and the vegetables on either side. Creativity of presentation and understanding the consumer allow this dish to either be nice and light or warm and filling. Very well done allowing the diversity of the dish to create a lasting impression.
The food is definitely enough to make my visit to Maverick a success, but the wine program is also outstanding. A mostly American selection was complimented by just a few dominant grapes from around the world. I am a lover of the Italian reds, and was excited to see the three most desirable Italian reds offered by the bottle, Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di Montalcino. Spanish and French wines are also available. There are a variety of wines offered by the glass and by the half glass making it fun to mix and match. One nice touch not seen at most places was the wines by the glass were poured at the table allowing one to see the bottle, find out a little more information on the wine and creating a nice personable feel. Nice touch!
Overall the dining experience at Maverick American Eatery and Wine bar was very enjoyable. The concept of down home cooking done with a fine dining twist makes Maverick American Eatery and Wine Bar a step above most, creating a destination for everybody in the city of San Francisco. [IMG]
Don Saliano is a current member of the food industry and an aspiring restaurant critic.