Friday, December 18, 2009

San Francisco: Maverick

By a stroke of luck, I happened to be in San Francisco on business and was there to celebrate our friend JP's birthday with him and his partner Rusty. After a warm-up glass or two of wine, we headed out to Maverick, a favorite of theirs in the Mission district near their home.

Maverick is a very small and atmospheric place with a nice, neighborhood, hip vibe. We were seated at a comfortable table and quickly began looking over the menu. I had had a particularly long day with no lunch so I was anxious to get some food on the table!

Rusty and JP recommended the fried chicken so that is what I fact we all had the fried chicken, which might not have given a very broad picture of the menu, but at least it cut down on sharing. Being hungry, I started with clams casino....kind of a throwback to the 60s, or 70s maybe...anyhow something I haven't ordered in I don't know how long. The clams were OK, not overwhelming. Four smallish clams with some bacon and breadcrumbs. Maybe I expected more, maybe too much. Anyhow, no need to order this again for another 20 years. Rusty had a salad which looked perfectly pleasant but unremarkable.

Fortunately, the chicken was delicious, with a seasoning that was maybe a tad thicker and a hair less crisp than perfection (and by perfection I'm thinking of Mrs Rowe's Restaurant in Staunton, Virginia) but plenty good nonetheless..the seriousness of the breading was made passable, even desirable, because it was deliciously seasoned. Kind of like a crispy cream gravy wrapped around the chicken, which was two generous pieces bedded down on collard greens. We had a small side dish of mac and cheese with it which I think JP liked more than me. It certainly wasn't bad (hard to make mac and cheese that is actually bad) but I thought it could have been hotter and cheesier.

With the chicken, we started with a bottle of "champagne" (actually a bottle of method champenoise rose from Alsacee), quite delicious, and switched to a Lang & Hall cabernet franc at the urging of the enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful sommelier. He was right, it was a good "food wine" with a very nice mix of fruit and acidity that was not overwhelmed by the bitterness of the collard greens. Wine prices in general seemed fair for the still wines and a bit high for the sparklers ($40 for Gruet? I mean, really, I like Gruet, but $40 for a bottle that's $13 retail seems a little much).

All in all a very festive evening and a place that perhaps Michael and I will visit together when we are back in the Bay Area for the holidays.

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