Maven the other night in the Lower Haight, San Francisco. Maven serves microbrews, wine, cocktails, and small appetizers. All the selections looked adventurous, interesting, and/or delicious.
This is my first foray into writing about anything other than a wine, tasting room, or wine destination. Had I thought about it at the time I would have taken pictures.
The place was pretty busy when we showed up and we had the option of squeezing next to some people at a communal table, sitting at the bar, or going upstairs. It was quite loud downstairs so I took the upstairs option. From the 1st floor the second floor looks like its just a bar with stools facing the downstairs, but when you get to the top there is a love seat in front of a fireplace and an L shaped sectional couch. Both seating arrangements have small coffee tables for plates or putting your drink down. I don't know why you would do the latter, but I guess some people do. ;)
I had the Chinatown Duck Sliders with shiitake, bitter greens, and bacon. They came as two pretty small sliders, but what they lacked in substance they made up in amazing savory flavor. I was in the mood for Bourbon so I went with the Mr. Wiggles (maven’s single-barrel bourbon, amaro, vermouth). It was good, but a little too orange zesty and not enough bourbon-like. My friend had the Scallop Crudo with shiso, tart apple, hazelnut which consisted of four fresh and delicate scallops on top of crisp, sour apples. The flavors were very subtle and probably would have been better with a white wine, but oh well. She went with Ransom 2009 Pinot Noir which overpowered the scallops, but was decent for a wine bar Pinot. Not spectacular, but far from swill.
For our second round, I went with the 5 spot (aged rhum, lime, ginger, maple, thai basil, five spice) and she went with the UNTI 2008 Grenache. Now first off I think spelling rum as rhum is a bit pretentious. Other than the spelling of rum I have no qualms with this tasty beverage with all the flavors delightfully mingling together. This was one of the tastiest cocktails I've had outside of a bartending competition at the Rye sponsored by Charbay. My friend's Grenache was great. I'm a pretty big fan of Grenache because it makes wonderful medium bodied wine and the quality to price ratio is still great. I think its about where Syrah was 7 or so years ago.
In conclusion this is wonderful place to taste exquisite concoctions and if you go upstairs its romantic while downstairs is very social. I highly recommend it.