A Culinary Maverick

It was time to celebrate Miss J. Low’s birthday and I let her have her pick of any restaurant in the Bay Area. It’s no surprise she picked one with a hearty menu that would scare most ladies away.

Welcome to Maverick, a place where two¬†chicks can order a plate of Baby Back Ribs, Fried Chicken, a side of Mac & Cheese, and still have room for dessert. (Did I mention we love food?…)

Things started off easy and elegant with a shared appetizer of Fresh Asparagus w/Poached Egg and Fresh Mozzerella. It’s spring which is prime asparagus season, and the flavors didn’t disappoint. They did a great job of keeping the flavor of the asparagus intact: sweet and bright. The richness of the poached egg and creaminess of the cheese made for a great textural and flavor contrast. The perfect spring dish.

Then we got down to the gourmet rib stickin’ food…

She went with the Fried Chicken served with a rich brown gravy and grits. It was delicious. Again, another very different fried chicken dish than the ones we’ve tried at Town Hall (more traditional buttermilk), Jack Falstaff (more of a light flour batter) or 900 Grayson (just plain good). This one had a Shake and Bake kinda texture that was breaded. It was crispy and seasoned well, so the crust had real flavor and depth. And we both mentioned how juicy the meat was. Very good.

I had the special of the night, which was St. Louis Style Baby Back Ribs with a side of baked beans and arugula salad. Though the sauce was sweet and smokey, the ribs weren’t as meaty as I would have liked, and seemed slightly dryer than they could have been. I would’ve been more impressed had they been juicer meatier ribs. Oh well, it was still pretty tasty.

We probably should have ended it there, but when there’s Mac and Cheese on the menu, J. and I can never turn it down. Though this version was good, it wasn’t exactly up to snuff (we measure all gourmet mac and cheeses to the one they serve at “Home” restaurant in SF on Market Street). It came out hot out of the broiler, but the sauce was a bit thin and slightly grainy with not enough strong cheese flavor to provide any distinctive contrast between the cheeses. But as we let the dish sit, it got thicker as it cooled so when we picked at it towards the end of the meal, the flavors of the cheeses came out and the sauce was nice and thick and gooey.

As you can imagine we were pretty full, but the staff managed to pull out a little dish of Sea Salt Caramel Gelato in celebration of J’s birthday. It had a great savory bite when you first tasted it, but then mellowed out into the sweet rich caramel flavor. I could only stomach a bite but J. finished it up in a minute. The perfect ending to an already rich meal.

The space is small but rich with brown and deep red tones. It has a “down home” edge without being kitschy, and is very aware of its gourmet identity. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the mood for that type of food, but I wouldn’t exactly make a special trip just to eat there again.

Maverick - 3316 Seventeenth St., San Francisco – 415.863.3061

Maverick on Urbanspoon

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