maven – finding harmony on haight

I went to Maven for the first time last week for drinks with a lovely group of ladies.  What struck me first about Maven was the “modern organic” design – a combination of sleek, somewhat minimalistic architecture combined with natural details, such as long wooden communal tables and the “living wall” composed of living foliage.  Just as the design brings together contrasting features in a manner that is intended to elevate both, Maven’s “paired menu” couples drinks {cocktails, wine and beer} with innovative small plates.  We enjoyed the Dungeness crab {with avocado, late summer corn and smoked paprika}, the Monterey calamari {with thai chili, coriander and ginger}, the summer squash tortellini {with tomato confit, housemade ricotta and summer beans}, and the local Albacore {with eggplant and smoked creme fraiche}.  But the highlight of our evening were the Chinatown duck sliders {with Shitake mushrooms, Chinese greens and bacon}.  Absolutely delicious.  To complement all of these beautiful flavors, I ordered the Global Warming cocktail {with aged gin, sake, Riesling, lemon and absinthe sorbet}, although it was hard to choose as the cocktail menu is incredibly diverse and offered up unique combinations.  We ended our lovely meal with a dessert sampler of four beautifully prepared desserts {the chef also does pastry}, the highlight of which was a sorbet that was so bright and wonderfully complex that none of us could guess the mystery ingredient – yuzu.  All in all, a harmonious {and delicious} study in contrasts.

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