I tried Maverick last night despite a number of mixed/negative reviews I found on the the CH board.
It was a very enjoyable experience -- a number of excellent dishes, two average/mediocre dishes and really friendly attentive service. And a very reasonable price.
Lets start with the highpoints:
- Seared tuna was served in a sauce of pureed corn. First of all great piece of fish, cooked to perfection. But the sauce really made the dish. It was great with the tuna and so delicious on its own that we mopped up what was left with bread.
- Lamb steak(?) - I'm much more used to lamb shank, so I am not exactly sure where this cut is from. But essentially looked like two small lamb tenderloin (?) steaks stacked on top of each other on a bed of mushrooms and chopped asparagus. Served medium rare/rare. Nothing fancy, just two really delicious pieces of meat.
- Beet salad was also excellent with diced beets marinated in a tasty vinaigrette.
- For dessert -- White chocolate bread pudding with bourbon whipped cream and caramel. I must admit I am a sucker for bread pudding, (but that also means I have high standards since it is one of my favorite desserts) The bourbon flavor paired beautifully with the caramel and white chocolate. Mmmm...
On the mediocre side: we had another salad (that I have already forgotten) and the crab fluffs (which were actually a bit disappointing).
Service was VERY helpful and friendly. Its such a small place our waiter and the sommelier were constantly walking by and talking to us.
Total bill for four people = $100 for food + $60 for two bottles of wine + tip
Finally, there is the issue of "priming the wine glasses" that seemed to get a lot of chatter on the board previously. For those of you have not heard of this (I certainly had not!). They pour ~2oz of wine into one glass and then use this amount to sequentially rinse each of the glasses with it to "prime" them before pouring the wine. The idea being the there will always be residual detergent, flavors or other impurities in the glasses. Some of these will dissolve in your glass of wine and distort the taste. Best way to get rid of them is to pre-rinse the glass with the same liquid/solvent that you will be drinking -- the wine.
From my organic chemistry coursework, that explanation made sense to me, but I was still somewhat skeptical since I have been to a many high end restaurants and not seen this. However, we did the control experiment at dinner. The 2 oz of rinsing wine certainly did not taste as good as the wine poured into my "primed" glass! It was duller and lacked some of the complexity and fruit.
However, as I am sure some of the scientists in the crowd will be getting ready to point out -- the rinsing wine had "impurities" from 4 glasses pooled in a mere 2 oz, resulting in over 10x the concentration of the same "impurities" that you would have in a 6oz pour in an unprimed glass. Yes, certainly true but the whole thing was certainly intriguing enough to try again at home. Lastly, I discussed this with my brother-in-law (a winemaker in Sonoma) and he said he always primes his glasses at work (though I have never seen him do this at a meal...).