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Restaurants & Bars 6

Haven: Stick-to-your-ribs fare (and the tiniest bread oven in the world)

pane | Jan 18, 2012 11:19 AM

Last night Daveena, Dave MP and I met for dinner at Haven in Jack London Square, part of the Daniel Patterson group of restaurants with Kim Alter as the executive chef.

We split:
SMOKED PASTA, egg, bacon, pepper, chive – 13
BONE MARROW, yuzu, radish, leek, toast, parsley – 15
BRAISED LAMB, carrots, allium, firelit liquor – 26
BRUSSEL SPROUTS, mint, lime, garlic – 7
BAKED CALIFORNIA, citrus, avocado, meringue – 12

And two other items not on their online menu--an arctic char entree and cauliflower side dish. Both Daveena and I had cocktails. The cocktail list was fairly standard (for a restaurant of this quality) with a few flourishes. I had a corpse reviver #2, but prefer a stronger herbal Absinthe note missing here.

The atmosphere is lovely, with pretty lighting and warm stone, wood and tile accents. We sat in the side area by the bar, and the noise level was lively but not overpowering.

Food wise, my top picks were the rich, eggy smoked pasta (the flour is smoked before being made into noodles), brussels sprouts (though I love all sprouts), and the bone marrow. We held on to both pasta and marrow dishes so that we could sop up the liquid with bread.

When all the marrow had been scraped away and a seemingly edible knob clung to the outside of the ravaged bone, David asked if it would be terribly gauche to pick it up and gnaw. "No one will judge," was the response, which I think speaks to the deliciousness of that dish and the joy of eating among friends.

Dark, salty Parker House-style rolls are served upon request, and they're worth requesting, though the wait is long. Our waiter explained that the bread oven only bakes two rolls at a time. I imagine this as some type of child-sized Easy-Bake set-up, and asked to see it--he laughed, but I wasn't kidding. I heard many servers explaining that bread would take a while, and I'm curious why a restaurant with maybe 30 tables would guarantee a back-up and apologies every night.

Maybe time to spring for a second Easy-Bake?

44 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

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