Boston CH’er visiting your fair city and met SF ‘hound mariacarmen for dinner at Maverick. It was marvelous and mariacarmen thought it was far better than her last visit, under the previous chef.
We started with gruyere gougeres with French onion dip, both delicious, then shared beef tenderloin tartare with gypsy pepper “pearls” (which looked for all the world like salmon roe but did taste distinctly like the red peppers they were), charred tiny eggplant rounds, bits of Meyer lemon, miso, and the most gorgeous vibrant pink blackberry-lime-beet vinaigrette (blackberry flavor predominant). While each element was delicious in its own right, they didn’t really pull together in a harmonious whole the way the other dishes did. Still, a minor quibble as it was all excellent.
Next up: raw local albacore, each slice balanced on a marble-sized potato which had been tossed with sherry vinaigrette, then strewn around the dish shaved lemon cucumbers and radishes and some springs or greenery, garlic chips (which had none of the bitterness they sometimes do), and big blops of delicious tonnato sauce and drizzles of black garlic puree, all topped with a few tempura green beans. This was absolutely magnificent and the flavors and textures really complemented one another. Yes, we really did use our fingers in addition to bits of bread to get every morsel of goodness off the plate and there really was a discussion about getting another one for dessert.
For mains, mc had the burrata and veal sweetbread saltimbocca, with crispy sunchoke (we both wished for a whole plate of these, they were marvelous), shreds of delicious peppers, pickled carrots and braised shallots. Everything I tasted was great but she can tell you more. I had what I will call the pork combo: pork short rib, meltingly tender and perfect with a pronounced flavor of cloves which we both liked; a little round of cotechino which had been dusted with cornmeal and deep-fried into an even greater yumminess (if that is possible) than cotechino normally achieves; a square of pork belly with a very crispy layer of skin; all on a bed of corn spaetzle with generous amounts of huitlacoche, and scattered clumps of tiny charred pardon peppers, watermelon bits and whole charred scallions. The elements worked together magnificently.
Each plate was a work of art and caused us to ooh and aah. Mariacarmen took pictures of everything which she will post later. The service was delightful, our waiter got a big kick out of our enthusiasm. I know that you SF ‘hounds are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining, mariacarmen is a perfect 3 for 3 in the places she has chosen for us to dine at when I get out here, but I would happily go back to Maverick.