If your perfect meal is sitting at the bar seats, looking over the kitchen, the bartender, or even surveying an entire restaurant, you're gonna like Maven. Everything the light touches is yours, Simba. We’ve never been to a place with so many bar seats, and we are strong supporters of the high-chair-matched-with-a-counter move. Who needs to stare into the eyes of their dining companions anyway? The fact that Maven also rolls out an amazing burger, awesome cocktails, and some of the most genuinely friendly service we’ve ever encountered makes this a serious member of the Infatuation’s rotation.
The corner location and huge windows give the room good light, and while it can get busy it’s never insanely crowded, and is an especially good spot for a mid-week dinner. There's a special standing bar area (more bars!) to wait and grab a drink while you wait for a table, and the cocktails are good enough that Maven could roll as a Trick Dog-style establishment and do just fine. Except the food is also great, and interesting without being too precious or too pricy. While some elements of the space scream "fancy hotel bar," the high ceilings, wood communal tables, and living wall over the main bar make up for the more sterile pieces of the restaurant.
Like almost any restaurant in San Francisco, you can stroll into Maven wearing either heels or your finest Lululemon capris and feel totally appropriate. The servers, especially the host, are actually nice people who don’t act like they’re doing you any favors by bringing you menus, water, extra napkins, or your fourth cocktail. You're gonna want that fourth cocktail.
Cocktails don’t usually get their own slot in the rundown, but Maven has a legit cocktail program and the Corpse Reviver is our go-to. Gin, ginger, lemon and a coriander-crusted ice cube. Consider your corpse revived.
Two seriously meaty sliders, with scallions and rich shiitake mushrooms. Saucy delight.
Fried balls of artichoke risotto served on top of insanely good lemon aioli. Not judging if you get one order per person. Four are very easy to eat by yourself.
Good but not incredible. Not quite frites not quite steak fries, these fries are crispy and fine but not particularly noteworthy.
The ‘grilled’ bread that comes with tastes fried in the best way possible - a little crunchy, brushed in olive oil and not falling apart when you dip. The broth is nicely spicy, and it comes with absinthe because, why not? The portion isn’t huge, so you’ll definitely need some other food. Probably the sliders.
Just going to say it - this is a GREAT burger. Layers of pickles, caramelized onions, melty muenster and a light airy bun. If you are a burger person, you should 100% get this.