Open since 2005 when it took over the original Limon space, Maverick has been on a mission to provide modernized American food in a tiny, 38-seat restaurant. Co-owned by Wine Director Mike Pierce and original Chef Scott Youkilis, they did a revamp mid-last year by switching the bright orange walls to a cool grey, and smartly turning over the kitchen helm to bicycle designer and Executive Chef Emmanuele Eng. Scott Youkilis has since turned into an entrepreneur with Youk’s Hot Sauce and as the co-owner of nearby restaurants Hog and Rocks and Hi-Lo BBQ (both of which have their own accomplished Executive Chefs). As a former Sous-Chef at Boulevard and Sons and Daughters, Chef Eng kept the integrity of Maverick’s menu while providing upscale touches. Some of the Southern-influenced food remains, but Chef Eng’s additions have definitely widened the breadth of offerings.
Chef Eng changed the format of the menu from the traditional appetizer, soup/salad and main courses to one that includes snacks, items “to continue” and entrées. We couldn’t narrow down which snacks to get, so we ordered all three items. The first were still-warm Gruyere Gougeres served with a delicious French onion dip:
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The second snack was Spanish Cured Anchovies (Boquerones) served on a thin levain toast with a slightly sweet and spicy kumquat and fresno chili jam:
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The last snack item was cornmeal-crusted Fried Green Tomatoes served with a remoulade that included bits of Tasso ham. Fried in wedges rather than round slices, this was a great interpretation of the Southern staple:
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We started with a couple glasses of Gratien & Meyer Saumur Brut Rosé to pair with our snacks and moved onto a bottle of Sea Smoke 2005 Southing wine that we brought from our cellar:
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We followed their directions and moved on to the “To Continue” section of the menu which contained several appetizer and salad choices. The Smoked Deviled Eggs and Sturgeon Caviar was something that we needed to order since nothing is better than eggs on eggs. The smokey flavor was prominent (but not dominating) and added an interesting touch to the deviled egg. The eggs were topped with fried shallot strands and sat on a “melted leek” soubise accompanied by charred baby leeks which all added a great mild onion flavor:
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The amazing Octopus Salad was served with sliced snap peas, grilled asparagus, watercress and a black garlic and lime aioli. Miso cured egg yolk slices added an interesting texture and flavor. The octopus slices were very tender and the squid ink breadsticks were addictively good:
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They had five different main courses, and we were tempted to order the potato and truffle, but ended up sharing their signature Fried Chicken dish with a buttermilk biscuit. The side items change with the season, and this version included pickled green beans and a spicy roasted escarole that was reminiscent to kim chee in flavor. The crispy and moist chicken sat atop a delicious andouille gumbo gravy:
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Chef Eng has definitely re-invigorated the menu in the right direction. For some reason, we hadn’t returned to Maverick in awhile, but we won’t be making that mistake again.