The Revamped Marina Favorite Quietly Putting Out Some of the Area’s Most Exciting Food (and Desserts!)
Hidden on Lombard, a short block from the main Chestnut drag, Maybeck’s has quietly been one of the Marina’s top restaurants for years now.
But it’s recently undergone a significant overhaul, as Aaron Toensing brought on two new, and familiar, faces in Lori Baker and Jeff Banker, the wife-and-husband chef duo who made their names at places like Baker & Banker. The trio has overhauled the menu and the space, while keeping the essence of the place.
Here’s a quick rundown of the new Maybeck’s. Spoiler alert: Definitely don’t miss dessert.
1. There’s a cute backstory.
The trio of chefs and co-owners have been friends for decades, but once upon a time, it was Toensing who actually set up Baker and Banker.
Toensing and Baker were friends before anything. The two worked pastry together at Postrio, Wolfgang Puck‘s bygone Union Square restaurant. They later worked together at Bix, where Toensing always seemed to be talking him a former coworker of his (that would be Mr. Jeff Banker, in case you’re having trouble following along). Eventually, he connected the two, and Jeff and Lori got married and lived happily ever.
And now, back to Maybeck’s…
2. The space is the same. But different.
The striking bar near the entry remains the main focus, and it remains largely the same as the last iteration, the kind of place you grab a well-made cocktail for a nightcap, or even pop by for a full dinner.
What’s different is the dining area, though. There are now banquettes and tables surrounding the bar, making for a cozier dining room all around. And the back dining room has now been converted into a PDR that can seat up to 30 people in a moody, glassed-off wine cellar.
3. The food is worth a trip, from any part of town.
Just like at Baker & Banker, the new menu at Maybeck’s falls in the tradition of the great neighborhood spot that is also a destination — the genre that San Francisco has always excelled at, with places like Nopa, Frances, Liholiho, Aziza, Kin Khao.
“We designed the menu so people could come in and have a burger at the bar, or also they can get a lot of creative dishes, if you want to have a tasting menu where you can try almost everything.”
The seasonal California menu changes regularly, but in addition to the aforementioned burger, there are a few dishes that will always be on the menu, like the grilled avocado, duck wings, and the steak (petit filet with red wine bone marrow butter and a twice-baked potato). As Baker notes, there’s also a “let us cook for you” tasting menu option for $95.
4. Definitely save room for dessert.
It’s no secret that many restaurants have cut their pastry chefs as a cost-saving measure. In Baker and Toensing, Maybeck’s has two pastry chefs listed as owners.
“Making everything from scratch, including making our own ice creams, is important to me,” says Baker. “I’m into classic American desserts, with a bit of a twist. I’m trying to create things that people crave and enjoy.”
Right now, those ice creams include an Irish whiskey, citrus yogurt sherbet, and a blueberry swirl. The headliner dessert, though, is a Baker & Banker holdover: The Brooklyn Blackout Cake, made with dark chocolate cake, chocolate pudding layers, and vanilla malted milk.