The Lower Haight's new Maven has been jam packed a lot of the time since it opened in late December. With ex-Mina bartendress Kate Bolton behind the stick, a one-time Beretta GM Jay Bordeleau at the host stand and a dialed decor, the restaurant is certainly bringing something new to a strip of Haight long-dominated by quick-and-dirty burritos, bbq and Indian food. The menu format is also something new: with all small plates listed with options for cocktail and beer/wine pairing. Of course there's a little push back about the prices and poncier vibe. Now, to the Early Word, to see what people are saying.
The Booze News: “The cocktails were the most appealing part of the menu,” writes Chowhound/Pane. Alcademics thinks “this space is clearly a bar that serves food rather than a restaurant that serves drinks.” SFist chimes in Kate Bolton's drinks are "balanced, interesting, and go down easy." [Chowhound, Alcademics, SFist]
The Ambience News: Although Yelp's Krystha B. calls “no hooks for bags or coats anywhere” a "hiccup," 7x7’s Erin Renzas calls the space "as sophisticated and unexpected as the menu," and Sara Deseran adds "long rows of communal tables give it a modern and lively feel." [Yelp, 7x7]
The Service News: Comments Pane of Chowhound, “Service was strange—there didn't seem to be servers assigned to specific tables, so a revolving cast stopped by to ask us if we'd ordered, wanted refills, or wanted to look at the dessert menu not knowing we'd been asked the same question 90 seconds before...” Yelp’s Christina F. says simply, “Service was on point.” [Chowhound, Yelp]
The Pairings News: SFist comments on a drink-dish pairing suggestion: "The International Mistress, is a refreshing winter drink with an herbal-smoky Mezcal-Amaro base, served as a highball and topped with soda. And it's paired on the menu with a dish of braised fennel and watercress...we should add, the food is pretty tight too!" [SFist]
The Entree News: Diner Cody V. of Yelp proclaims, “The entree was an exquisite piece of grilled char, cooked 1 millimeter above the legal limit...Wicked.” Fellow Yelper Maxwell M. received a steak that was “blue, a good 10-15 degrees away from even being rare,” but Chowhounder hyperbowler feels “the food has potential.” [Yelp, Chowhound]
The Neighborhood News: 7x7's Sara Deseran sums it up: "...the thing that I like about Maven the most is its good, urban energy. It's brought much-needed life back to a dark corner of a neighborhood that's just itching for more." [7x7]
· All Maven Coverage [~ ESF ~]