Friday, October 4, 2013

Dinner with Your Cocktail? Pairings at Maven

The more thoughtful and imaginative a cocktail menu, the more excited I get. So I was like a little kid opening presents at Maven, a Lower Haight restaurant with an entire list of food and drink pairings. And not only is each of the ten dishes—including desserts—paired with a cocktail, it’s paired with a wine or beer as well, so you can both mix and match. The flip side of the menu has a selection of unpaired offerings: beer, wine, a few cocktails and classic bar eats. I wanted to taste everything.

Somehow, I’ve contented myself with two visits so far. On each occasion I got a food item with its cocktail pairing, and one of the unpaired cocktails from the other side of the menu after my plate was cleared. Each time, the paired items were both special but even better together. The earthy, autumnal butter bean salad with chicory and onion gastrique was complimented by related flavors in What Ale’s You, a combination of rum, Asian pear, ginger, lemon and saison beer. The rainbow trout pairing had been just as successful the previous visit, and when I looked for it again, the dish had changed with the seasonality of the produce, and was paired with a totally new cocktail. How awesome is that?

cocktail, collins class, ice cubes, cross-sectional Asian pear slice garnish

Also amazing and a great way to spend my time at the bar was watching the dexterity and verve of bar manager Kate Bolton, a ninja cutting through an advancing army of orders. Special thanks to Kate, and to everyone at Maven for a wonderful cocktail and dining experience.

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