Friday, July 8, 2011

Maverick Still Does It Right

It's been more than 2 and a half years since my one and only visit to Maverick. I really don't know why I waited so long to take a trip back to this marvelous Mission eatery. The meal the 6 of us had last night dazzled us all just as it delighted the folks 'round the dinner table a few years ago. From the uber-creamy mac n' cheese and overflowing basket full of fresh, springy sourdough bread to the super seasonal, harmonious and eye-catching entrees with their accompanying sides, there was no dish we didn't love. Kudos to the cooks in the kitchen. Next on the list: Maverick's down-home brunch. Stay tuned.

The house butcher plate was much fought over as Mr. C wanted to have it all to himself. However, after we pointed out how horribly piggish that would be, he relented—but only grudgingly. The prized plate included duck prosciutto, a country pork terrine, liver mousse, home-made cauliflower, carrot and jalapeno pickles, along with a wonderfully addictive smoked violet mustard.

Sweet and tangy baby beets accompanied by dots of smoked plum, a crumble of piquant Rogue River blue cheese, wheat berries, smoky guanciale and sprigs of slightly sharp watercress. What a beautiful and well-balanced dish.

Crispety-crunchety fried green tomatoes with a zingy chive-buttermilk sorbet, green tomato jam, lavender and purslane. I'd voted to pass on this dish, having tried it elsewhere and been underwhelmed at best. So glad we got it here, as I'm now a fan of the green orbs ... Maverick really does know how to make food look and taste good.

Moist and juicy flat iron steak with a lusciously smooth potato puree, crisp-tender root vegetables, oxtail vinaigrette and fresh blobs of horseradish cream.

Southern fried chicken cooked to perfection—the slightly sweet crust (was there cornmeal in there, we wondered?) was so crunchy, sealing in a moist, juicy bird. It came piled on top of dirty red rice, sauteed broccoli rabe and plenty of red eye gravy.

My dish: the pork shoulder presse (seemed like pork belly to me) ... a crisp topping with a flakey meaty interior, complemented nicely with a strawberry-rhubarb mostarda, sunchoke puree and chips, wilted Russian kale and green peppercorn.

I'm not a huge fan of tarragon, but these tarragon-shortbread cookies were tasty and well paired with a sweet Meyer lemon curd, stewed strawberries and home-made mascarpone (read: Italian triple-cream cheese).