Maverick, San Francisco

This small eatery in the Mission district is the brainchild of Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce. Both chef and general manager worked together at Sociale before they decided to open a restaurant named after the 1800’s Southwestern cattle rancher whose name now defines the independently minded (not to be confused with senator McCain).

The L-shaped dining room is simple and welcoming with wood and warm colors creating the main visual palette. Despite the Mission-hip atmosphere, there’s no fuss inside. Step in and you’ll feel right at home.

I’ve been to Maverick countless times, always for brunch. Their morning fare is inventive and full of flavor. I was happy to find that dinner is just as good.

The menu

Maverick serves regional American fare with Southern emphasis and San Francisco sensibility. The menu features 8 appetizers ($8 to $14), 6 main courses ($18 to $28) and a handful of side dishes ($6 each).

The meal

Chef Youkilis’ cuisine is sophisticatedly soulful. In good Bay Area fashion, ingredients are celebrated seasonally and purveyors are credited prominently.

The first amuse bouche is a raspberry, mint mimosa shot. It has a light effervescence and a fresh taste in a cough-syrup size dose.

The second amuse bouche contrasts the sweetness of the mimosa with a flavorful savory crostini gratin of fennel, artichoke and dry Jack cheese.

As an appetizer, Baltimore crab fluffs. Chicory salad, spicy remoulade. Think crab cake without breadcrumbs, hushpuppies sized. Fresh crabmeat lightly coated in tempura batter and deep-fried. Rich and tasty.

On the lighter side, Grape and arugula salad. Read flame grapes, arugula, roasted gypsy peppers, pickled fennel and red onion, fresh chèvre, McEvoy olive oil. Complex and refreshing.

As a main course, Eden Farms pork loin. Baked Rancho Gordo “Lila” beans, red mustard greens, pickled tokyo turnips, pork jus. A delicious dish, full of flavor and masterfully prepared.

Southern fried chicken. Buttermilk soaked Field to Family Farm chicken, roasted okra, jasmine rice pilaf with country ham, brown chicken gravy. The super crispy, golden brown crust is the perfect pairing for a juicy, tender meat. I’m not a fan of okra, especially when the cooking process keeps its characteristic sliminess. So, to be fair, I’ll withhold judgment on the accoutrements. That said, this is one of Bay Area’s best fried chickens, maybe second only to Ad Hoc’s.

For dessert, Chocolate Devil's Food Cake. Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, salted caramel sauce. The moist cake is perfectly paired with the delicious coffee ice cream–that, by itself, is an outstanding dessert.

Concord grape pie. Peanut butter curry ice cream, crème anglaise. A classic mini pie with homey crust and a scoop of subtly flavored ice cream.

In short

One of my favorite brunch spots in the city offers comforting yet sophisticated dinner fare. Maverick may not quite be at the same level of Town Hall or Ad Hoc but with its attentive service and a relaxed atmosphere, this is a place you’ll eat well and feel at home. Home savory home.

Maverick is at 3316 17th Street
Online reservations

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