Last Wednesday, I had a great dinner at Haven with Christina from East Bay Dish and Sandy from Food Hoe. Haven is the third restaurant from the Daniel Patterson Group, which brings you restaurants like Coi, Plum, and ALTA CA. I went in expecting delicious seasonal food with creative uses of ingredients and satisfying flavors -- Haven definitely met my expectations. I'm so glad that the three of us shared this delicious food experience together.
The restaurant ambiance is cozy and has a lot of warmth, along with a nice amount of swank. I love the inviting clear glass walls and the open space feeling. The bar setup is attractive with a display of their house made tinctures and bitters. The open kitchen is great for viewing the action.
I really enjoyed how each main ingredient per dish was highlighted in what we ordered. It felt like each dish had so much thought put into it. Between all of us, we end up order a great spread of food items. Here's what we got and my review per item:
- LOCAL OYSTER: pink peppercorn mignonette - This was refreshing and great to start off with but nothing special, a bit too pricey at $3 each.
- MONTEREY SQUID: charred onion, black risotto, chicories - This was a great combination of flavors - love the squid - it was cooked perfectly for me with a nice bite. The charred onion gave it a nice noticeable smoky taste.
- BONE MARROW: kale, black garlic, torn bread - I absolutely loved this. The crispy kale and black garlic seasoning balanced the richness of the marrow very nicely. It was a good amount for three people, no more than that.
- FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS: lemon, chili - I've had fried brussels sprouts before and didn't enjoy them but these were done very nicely. It wasn't too oily and had simple seasoning.
- SALT COD & POTATO FRITTERS: chive sour cream - I thought the technique and execution overall was really nice. The only thing that kept it from being a favorite is some salt. This was good and went well with the chive sour cream but it was under-seasoned.
- DUCK LIVER TOAST: fennel, blood orange marmalade, hazelnuts - It was rich, earthy, fruity and nutty in each bite. Very nice.
- OVEN ROASTED MUSHROOMS: anson mills grits, farm egg, nettles - This was the favorite dish of the night among all of us. I was a huge fan of the organic California seasonal mushrooms they used. The poached farm egg was perfect mix with the grits. Patrick and I make similar dishes like this often at home, part of why it stands out to me most.
- TOASTED QUINOA: pomegranate, almond - This was nice but stacking this up against everything else we had that night puts in low on the list.
- APPLE – QUINCE HAND PIE: vanilla ice cream, shiso - It resembled the looks of a homemade pop tart and had a fantastic crust. We couldn't taste the shiso in the pie, maybe because the tartness of the quince was too overpowering. It was nice especially with the ice cream served with it but it's a dessert I wouldn't get again.
- DARK CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR: stout caramel, almond brittle - We all loved this one. The dark chocolate was incredibly creamy and decadent and I love it rolled in almond brittle. This was a very memorable dessert and I would highly recommend.
Overall, I had a wonderful time catching up over dinner and getting to know these wonderful ladies. It was definitely a night of delicious food, food-related conversations, and great personal stories filled with laughter. Yup, it's definitely my kind of night.