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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Out with the Kids: Brunch at Maverick

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 7:38 AM

click to enlarge Maverick's fried-to-order doughnuts are something both kids and parents can agree on. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Maverick's fried-to-order doughnuts are something both kids and parents can agree on.

The birth of our first daughter 10 years ago meant the death of brunch as we knew it. The thrill of brunch had been predicated on talking about the fun of the night before while eating something to help us get over the lingering effects from said fun. Discussing diaper changes and teething over plates of $14 eggs sucked, especially in a bleary-eyed state that had nothing to do with being hungover. Besides, who wants to maneuver a baby stroller through sidewalk crowds of hipsters having so much childless excitement, and into a steeplechase course of tables, chairs, servers, and hot coffee? Not us.

click to enlarge Both important: Pink Meyer lemonade and coloring. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Both important: Pink Meyer lemonade and coloring.

That's changed now. Our girls are older, and comfortable in most restaurant settings. Hangovers don't seem as sexy as they used to be (Sundays are now for Costco runs, Quicken updates, and playdate chauffeuring). And thanks to Maverick, brunch has reentered our vocabulary.

For starters, Maverick takes brunch reservations, and they're usually not terribly difficult to land. Not having to stand outside in the cold for an hour with two hungry kids is a huge plus. Also, the staff doesn't make my wife and me feel like total asses for bringing our daughters. No half-sighs or brow furrows, just welcoming, age-appropriate service. At 10 and 8, our girls don't want Elmo references and sweetie-talk. Without asking, smaller water glasses (not those annoying plastic cups with lids) and crayons arrive at the table. Old menus are provided for coloring.

click to enlarge Mac 'n' cheese and off-menu home fries, spared the seasoning or garnishes kids might find yucky. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Mac 'n' cheese and off-menu home fries, spared the seasoning or garnishes kids might find yucky.

On a recent visit, the girls started with a pink Meyer lemonade ($3). We shared an order of fried-to-order cinnamon and sugar doughnuts ($5). What kid doesn't like doughnuts? (Okay, what adult doesn't like donuts?) Our older daughter polished off an entire order of pecan-crusted French toast ($12 with a side of bacon). Between the doughnuts and the French toast, she proclaimed that brunch is great because you basically just eat lots of dessert, but it's breakfast. Smart kid. Our little one can't finish a full portion of anything so she went for a side of macaroni and cheese ($6) and home fries ($4). She rated the mac 'n' cheese "better than Annie's," which is a huge win for Maverick. Though home fries aren't on the brunch menu as a side, our server let us know that the kitchen could easily make a small order. A ramekin filled with fried potatoes cubes was wisely left unseasoned. The few bites that our daughter didn't finish, I snagged and dunked in a pool of Youk's Hot Sauce (I dump that stuff on everything at Maverick).

Now, before you hop onto OpenTable to make a reservation for brunch this Sunday, please keep a few things in mind. Maverick is small. This is absolutely not the place to try and cram in a stroller or a high chair. Also, Maverick is civilized. If your kids are the types who need to run a few laps while screaming their heads off instead of eating, stay away; you'll just piss everyone off. But if your children are mellow restaurant vets who appreciate a special meal, Maverick is a great call for the occasional Sunday morning extravagance. Welcome back to brunch.

Maverick: 3316 17th St. (at Mission), 863-3061.

Other restaurants in this series:

- The Matterhorn

Follow Alex Hochman at @urbanstomach . Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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Alex Hochman


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