Haven Jack London

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Restaurant reviews
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Haven Jack London

44 Webster Street
Oakland, California 94612
(510) 663-4440

http://www.havenoakland.com/

You can follow the on twitter @havenjacklondon

Haven has been open for sometime now and I kept putting off my visit until recently.  I partially regret putting it off for so long.

Lets talk about the decor, simple, hip and elegant are all adjectives I would use to describe Haven.  Located in jack London Square in the old spaghetti factory building on the waters side.  When I say the design is simple I truly mean understated, muted greys, wood grain and local flowers.

Being in the industry I have a love hate relationship with an open kitchen.  I love open kitchens because its  a show, dinner theater.  You get to watch every dish produced and how the kitchen dances. At the same time with an open kitchen, where the diners can see all your mistakes, it keeps you on your best behavior.


I started my evening with the French Oak Aged Martinez. I am not a normal Gin drinker but this was calling my name from its description on the menu.  It was a warm day on the water so I chose to be adventurous and try it.  i was pleasantly surprised by the flavors.  It was Bitter Sweet in a good way obviously.   The meyer lemon bitters came through strong with sweet undertones  from the luxardo.

The Martinez is the one of the predecessors to the Martini. This cocktail adds sweetness to the gin-vermouth combination with the use of sweet vermouth and a small amounts of maraschino liqueur”

My companion for the evening jenny, had the Flash Gordon,  A mix of Gin, Yuzu, and Celery.  When they set it down it was noticeably nuclear green, something out of Chernobyl. It was perfectly balanced, sweet, sour and savory.  The celery came through very strong with its subtle sweet notes that balanced well against the sourness of the Yuzu juice.

first course Beet “salad” 

salad is in quotes because it wasn’t truly a salad, it was every part of the beet treated different.  Roasted Stems, Sauteed greens, roasted beets, beet puree topped with a bitter chocolate tuile.  Roasted salted almonds and chile.  sweetness from the beets against the bitterness of the chocolate is a perfect contrast.

Second course Smoked pasta

It was a classic carbonara but with a hint of smoke.  Egg yolk stirred in table side. Crispy pancetta and vibrant chives ran through the dish.  I am a whore for eggs and a perfectly cooked yolk and this dish delivered perfectly.

Jenny’s 2nd cocktail was the Compass Rose

Tequila, Campari, Pineapple Gum, Grapefruit.  The mix was well balanced, sweet and citrus notes from the pineapple and campari with tequila in the forefront.

My 2nd cocktail was the Palabra Finale (last word)

Mezcal, Maraschino, and Green Chartreuse.  When they set it down the aroma of Mezcal hit me in the face, the smokey cousin of tequila.It was bright and refreshing with a smokey backing.

Third Course Snapper

The snapper was paired with new potatoes, squid, squid ink sauce, and a thai green chile puree.  The snapper skin was incredibly crispy to the point where it was almost like a cracker.  The thai chile sauce on its one was far to over powering but when mixed with a bit of snapper, potatoes and squid ink it was great, just enough heat to cut through the richness of the ink.

Fourth Course Rabbit

It was an unexpected presentation on the rabbit.  I was expecting a loin, maybe a rack, not the entire animal.  Broken down into all its pieces then wrapped in bacon.  It could not have been better.  Served with baby carrots, baby fennel and quinoa.  I am not a big fan of quinoa but stir in a bit a bacon and it becomes edible to me.  Perfectly salty and crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside.

Fifth and Final course Baked california

A vanilla Ice cream scoop surrounded by meringue and torched.  A swipe of mandarin jell and avocado cream. It was a good balance of sweet and tart, the mandarin cut the richness of the meringue and vanilla very well.

Final thought on Haven.  Its a must see, wonderful food and a knowledgeable staff.  the food spoke wonders about Head Chef Kim.

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Comments
  1. sybaritica says:

    Was the ‘smoked’ aspect of the smoked pasta dish due to one of the ingredients or was there actually some sort of smoking involved in the cooking?

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