Saturday, January 7, 2012


This post is really for my mother, who always asks for details on what I eat when I go out. 

I keep a running list of restaurants I'd like to try. Friday night I got to cross off one near the top of my list: Haven. Haven is the third restaurant from the Daniel Patterson Group, joining Coi and Plum. At Haven, the chef is Kim Alter, formerly of Plate Shop in Sausalito.

After wandering Jack London Square for a little bit in search of the address, we were shown to counter seats with a perfect view of the kitchen, always my favorite place to sit. Sparkling water in hand and a glass of Leitz ‘Rudeshweimer Klosterlay’ Kabinett on the way, it was time to make some food choices. Although they offer an ala carte menu, the menu header suggests you let them feed you: you can specify either 4 or 5 courses and they will adjust for any food allergies or aversions. Although I had come in with a few recommendations from twitter, the chef's choice seemed the way to go. It turns out that we ended up eating a rather high percentage of the menu. So much so that I will paste the complete menu below with dishes eaten and comments in purple.  

Both the food and service were excellent. Dishes were well executed and presented on an amazing array of different plates. So many different plates, that it became almost a game to guess which dish would be served in the plates we saw on display. Service was attentive, but not obtrusive and the recommendation for the Marchesi di Gresy nebbiolo off their by the glass list, was a good one. 
My one real complaint is a first world problem: they really sent out far too much food, especially given how filling some of the dishes were. I think a lot of that had to do with the restaurant being new and eager to please, as the chef stopped by to ask if we wanted more at one point. But it is also the reality of the seasonal ingredients available. Almost every single produce item was something I had gotten in my veggie box in the last month or so and even with our enviable growing season, the reality of January is heavier than the tomatoes of summer.

Food Menu

"We invite you to enjoy the chef’s menu served family style for tables of two or more.
We will carefully prepare four or five courses to your taste and preferences. Experience our intriguing menu and its delightful surprises prepared specially for you."
Watermelon radish, avocado amuse: A perfect fresh bite.
Parker house rolls: I admit it, I love rolls. These are served by request only and worth asking for.


FENNEL SOUP, lemon preserves, anise, pearl onions – 10: One of the highlights of the night and I'm not even that keen on fennel. Comfort food made special with the addition of the lemon  and fennel. Beautifully presented with the accompaniments in a bowl and soup poured at the table.
CHICORY SALAD, shiso, apple, persimmon, pomegranate  – 12
LITTLE GEM, gorgonzola, celery, crisp chicken skin – 12: -Love the idea of the chicken skin in place of the more common bacon. I felt though that it could have used an additional piece or two of skin and that the skin could have been a bit crispier.
HEIRLOOM SQUASH, barley, celery root, sage – 13
CLAMS, turnip, garlic toast, bacon and bourbon broth – 14: A dish I would not have ordered as I'm not a big clam fan. But, the broth and other elements were so good that I enjoyed it anyway. Plus, I do love garlic toast.
SMOKED PASTA, egg, bacon, pepper, chive – 13: This has gotten lots of comments online, but I had mixed feelings about it. It was creative as the pasta was prepared with smoked flour, something I'm curious about. Do they place bowls of flour in a smoker? But in the end, despite being very glad to try it, it reminded me a bit too much of kissing a smoker.
BONE MARROW, yuzu, radish, leek, toast, parsley – 15


DAY BOAT SCALLOP, beets, black trumpet mushrooms, blood orange – 27
QUAIL, quinoa, trumpet mushrooms, pickled mustard, almond – 23
CHICKEN, wheat berry, root vegetables, foie, banyuls – 24-: Another highlight that I probably would not have ordered on my own.Chicken served 3 ways: sous vide, confit and fried with some of the best root vegetables I have ever eaten. The wheat berries beneath enhanced by small cubes of foie.
SHEPARD’S PIE, pig, potato, winter spice – 25: We were very full so we only got a mini version, but a real standout. Will go back for this alone. Amazing light. Ground pork, foam and roasted potatoes.
BAVETTE, sunchoke, artichoke, béarnaise – 28 
BRAISED LAMB, carrots, allium, firelit liquor – 26


Non menu cauliflower baked in cream sauce with raw pieces added for texture: Like the best cauliflower cheese you could imagine.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS, mint, lime, garlic – 7: I do love fried Brussels sprouts, but have never had them before with soy and fish sauce. At my first bite thought it was too sweet, but found them rather addictive.

FRIED FINGERLINGS, seaweed, shiro soy, miso – 7: I could not really taste the shiso, but perfectly fried. Much like the Brussels sprouts above, they'd be perfect with a cocktail. I'd order these again as well, but they may want to rethink serving them immediately following the pasta.

SWEET POTATO, maple marshmallow, crisp shallot – 7


Non menu scoop of quince ice cream with pickled persimmon: Oh how I love quince. This was perfect, unlike some dishes that mask the floral notes of quince with too many spices.

BAKED CALIFORNIA, citrus, avocado, fennel meringue – 12

 LIME TART, sesame, milk jam – 12
CHOCOLATE CAKE, coffee, rice ice cream – 12--Nice, rich =, dark chocolate cake that pleased me by tasting more like chocolate than coffee. The ice cream was unsweetened, which surprised me. The crispy rice alongside was a great for contrast.

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