REVIEW: Maverick’s Cantina, Johns Creek, North Fulton
Maverick’s Cantina labels itself as a “So-Cal Mexican cantina”. I saw the surfboard on the website doing my research and it just didn’t click for me – until I walked in. Then, it all made sense. Everything came together and I was overwhelmed with the positive vibe going on in this restaurant. I acclimated quickly and I was looking for my sandals when our server came up to introduce herself.
For starters, you get free stuff and I’m not just talking about the chips and salsa. The salsa BTW, is among the best I have ever had. Anyway, back to the free stuff. Cool table introduction, right? Just text MAVS to 51660 and you get a free cheese dip. Here’s a hint though, ask for some diced jalapeños to be mixed in. Be careful though, because these are fresh not pickled or sautéed so they have a full kick in them.
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#goodtimes at @mavericksGA their #tacos are #offthechain #atlfoodie review posts Friday #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
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Should you survive the jalapeños, move on to your entrée. Angel, my lunch buddy, is a fan of any kind of pork taco so he went with the Tacos Al Pastor that has salsa and pineapple. Yes, that’s right, pineapple. I see you scratching your head wondering if that works, and trust me it does. And if you think all of this “California” stuff is just another marketing and branding ploy, you’re wrong. While we were waiting on our meal, we were kicking it with the people there (I came to find out later that one of them was the owner and the other was his daughter) and they are from California. They grew up there and it exudes from them out of every pore. BTW, you like cool, beach stuff? Check out the driftwood lamp over the community table. Narly, bro.
The sides that comes with it are black beans and white steamed rice. The white rice is covered with a dusting of grated cheese and a lime cilantro mixed in. Not only was this not your typical Mexican rice, it a unique fresh flavor that will agree with most any palate. I am not a black bean lover, in fact, I really hate them. These black beans changed my mind. The beans are flavored so nicely that I can now say I am a black bean advocate. When food changes your predisposition, someone has done something good.
That someone, is owner and Executive Chef Nicholas St. Clair (yes, of course he’s from Cali too). Educated at culinary school in California, later studying under some of America’s finest chefs, he and his wife Alison moved to Georgia to be closer to family. They opened Antebellum in Flowery Branch specializing in contemporary Southern cuisine. It was a hit and soon became one of the most popular restaurants in the area. In 2014, Antebellum made OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants in America. Yes, I sense another restaurant has made our top-secret “on the radar” list.
I had the Mavs Baja Fire Grilled Grouper Tacos that comes with chipotle, “Mexican style ‘Kimchi'”, and pineapple. Now, I’ve had some fish tacos before, but these were off the chain. I loved the fact they were grilled and not fried. The sauce they had was fantastic and had a nice simple, yet subtle, kick to it. I don’t think even if you don’t like things with a kick that you would be offended by it. The pineapple worked – and it worked magnificently. Angel and I swapped with our last taco and I loved the Tacos Al Pastor as well. Because of the salsa, it was more drippy than my fish tacos, but the flavor of the meat and salsa was very, very good. I’m thinking I must be in Malibu when I realize maybe we should head back towards the office. Bummer, dude!
We’re becoming much more selective about what restaurants we add to our MUST VISIT list, but Maverick’s Cantina has to be included. We loved the charm of this place, the atmosphere, the food, and the service. Maverick’s Cantina is so 909 [Read more things that So Cals say]. Hang loose and stay salty. Guten appetit!