Jun 8, 2022 - Food and Drink

Restaurant review: Gavin Kaysen's Mara is worth the wait

Two cocktails, a dip and a small yellow cake.
The Arpege and Arrabbiata cocktails, labneh dip and olive oil cake from Mara. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios.

👋🏻 Audrey here! I managed to snag a reservation at Mara, the new Four Seasons restaurant by Demi and Spoon and Stable chef Gavin Kaysen.

What I ordered: I tried a little bit of everything from the Mediterranean-inspired menu.

  • I started with the rose and jasmine-flavored “Arpege” cocktail ($15) and ordered the creamy, yogurt-based labneh dip ($14) as an appetizer.
  • I chose the lamb shank ($34) for my main, and finished with an olive oil cake ($13) for dessert.

My thoughts: My first impression of the space was “luxe night out,” and the service and food definitely delivered.

  • Almost everything was unique and delicious — I’ve never tried anything like the olive oil cake, a citrusy delight topped with a labneh sorbet.
  • The lamb shank was enormous, but a little under seasoned. I preferred my dining partner’s spiced pomegranate chicken ($32).

Yes, and: The cocktails, created by former Colita beverage director Adam Witherspoon, were the highlight of the meal. I went back to the attached bar for more.

  • The gin-based madHAUS ($15), topped with sugar-encased flowers, was my favorite.
  • If you're looking for a nonalcoholic option, I recommend the "Duplex" NA cocktail ($10) : a light and sweet drink with aromatic bitters and 3Leche’s “vermouth.”

Overall: If you can get in, Mara is worth the wait and price tag. The decor, service and beverage pairings took the restaurant from “nice date night” to “high-end special occasion.”

  • Dinner reservations are booked through August, but the bar and breakfast service are open for walk-ins.
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