My expectations were quite low going into the restaurant Haven, the latest restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It’s been open for two months and it was a food club pick. My colleague had dined there a few weeks prior and indicated she was served one and a half scallops and went home to have a Lean Cuisine. I had eaten at Plum which is the same owner as Haven and I felt the portions were small. After my meal at Haven last week, I am pretty excited to write about it because it was an awesome experience.
When we arrived, our table was not ready so we were offered a sincere apology and our cocktails were complimentary by Kyle, the manager for the evening. On other nights, Kyle waits tables.
Our waitress was Dana who was pretty informative. To start I ordered the clams. These were amazing especially the brothy sauce. We asked for some extra bread to dip in it. Dinner rolls came out in a skillet.
One friend had the braised bacon. This dish is essentially a piece of pork belly atop a salad. It was a nice way to lighten up the dish.
My other friend had the bone marrow. It was no surprise to me that she would order this because it’s one of her favorite things. The surprise is that it is a signature dish that I saw served frequently. It is a beautiful dish and my friend enjoyed it.
My entree was the Arctic char which came with king trumpet mushrooms and pear. A sauce was poured table side. It had a crispy skin but a flakey interior. I typically enjoy this much more than salmon because of its lightness.
My friend ordered the shepherd’s pie. This came in a bowl and included foam over the potatoes and mystery meat. It was a dish full of flavor and texture. The small amount I had was enough because it was hearty and decadent. A very good dish that should be shared.
Although the smoked pasta was an appetizer, my friend ordered this as her entree. The raw egg yolk was broken table side and mixed into the pasta. The smokiness of the pasta, the caviar, the fish eggs, etc. gave the pasta the taste of eating bagels and lox. This was one of the best dishes.
We ordered two desserts. One was the baked California which is their twist on the baked Alaska where ice cream is inside a meringue topping. You won’t find a orange gel or avocado puree in Alaska. This was my pick and was great, but it was the other dessert that knocked our socks off.
The Whiskey and rye was a plate of sweet yumminess. Whiskey can make anything taste better. Atop the creamy bars and ice cream were caramelized bananas.
The food and service was exceptional. I confidently say Haven is the best restaurant in Oakland and possibly my best meal ever.