Happy hours aren't all that hard to find in Southtown. The area is chock-full of great restaurants and solid bars and happy hour hounds jonesing for a bite and a tipple need to simply explore their options.
And when the super group made up of Peter Selig, Miguel Ardid, sommelier Joshua Thomas and chef Chris Carlson, opened the 220-seat restaurant, at least this writer hoped for an immediate happy hour.
No such luck.
Staffing a restaurant that size requires finesse and some A-plus servers, so we had to wait three months before the first happy hour menu was shared. But the wait was mostly worth it.
It's worth noting Le Palm, the section of the restaurant we chose to spend our happy hour(s) in. The très chic outdoor space leans more Nantucket than Port Aransas with palm fronds obscuring it from the otherwise dreary parking lot, and the coastal cottage vibes continue down to the wicker-bamboo chairs. It's a patio you'll want to spend a few hours on.
The happy hour menu is offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and it's a succinct tour de Maverick that lends itself to exploring. Bites, wine and cocktails are $6, and Shiner is priced at $3.
During our visit, the specialty cocktails featured included a Lemondrop, Pink Slip, caipirihna, Gold Rush, and a Tequila Old Fashioned. Wines, which likely change due to Thomas' extensive list of vinos, included a 2015 Pucciarella Cabernet blend and a giggle-inducing 2016 Muscadet from Forty Ounce Wines (technically, 33.8 ounces, not 40 but still).
The "Happy Bites" are worth the trip to Maverick and then some. On that Friday, we ordered the duck liver mousse, a sizable offering with a small side of greens and halved tomatoes seasoned with a light vinaigrette, and paired with good crusty bread. The salmon chips, tempura-fried thin cuts of cured fish, were a fun surprise with a bright garlic aioli. Both were rich, and decadent, a bit much for the onset of summer, but the Muscadet cut through the richness with ease.
Though not on the menu, we were talked into ordering a fun dessert of profiteroles by pastry chef Misa Holmes. Because why shouldn't you end a happy hour with banana goat cheese gelato, roasted banana caramel, milk chocolate hot fudge, and candied peanuts?