Eatery - Haven Gastropub (CA) Revisited

Haven Gastropub on Urbanspoon

190 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - American, Gastropub

[You can read my first review of this place here.] Haven has become "that" place that my friends and I default to when we want to hang out for good drinks. Honestly though, it's not the cheapest of places to hang out at but luckily we don't go out every night. Anyhow, there was a special occasion for our particular visit this one evening - in celebration of LA Beer Week, Haven was having a Stone Brewery night and *drum roll* was offering Stone's cherry chocolate stout ON TAP! Uh, I'm a stout lover and the cherry chocolate is my favorite. The fact that it was a limited release collaboration also makes it much more desirable. This would be my only chance to have it on tap EVER.

My friends and I all snagged one pint each. The cool thing for the evening was that anyone who got the cherry chocolate stout also got to keep the glass. It was heavenly...or dare I repeat something said that night - HAVENLY? It's one of those beers that you have to let sit a little while for all the complex flavors to show themselves. The chocolate is very apparent from the first ice-cold sip to the last but the richness of the cherries comes out as the stout gets closer to a little colder than room temperature. It was so beautiful on tap and very smooth. Quite the blissful experience.

We were there around dinner time too so we wanted to get some eats in. I ordered their house cured salmon which consisted of cured & cold smoked salmon, shaved breakfast radish, radish sprouts, dill crème fraiche, and dill pollen. It was pretty good but the freshness of all the ingredients aside from the salmon gave a peculiar taste that I couldn't say whether I liked or not. I described it to my friends as eating a salmon that was in a meadow; it tasted like a meadow in my mouth and made me feel like frolicking amongst bunnies and tall grass. The texture of the salmon was quite soft. I guess I hadn't known what to expect to cold smoked salmon - my thought was that it was going to be just like smoked salmon but it wasn't. I finished this first before trying bits and pieces of my friends' orders.

The mac and cheese at Haven is always good. It is probably the best mac and cheese I've had in a restaurant in California with its black truffles, Gruyere cheese, Fontina cheese, and Parmesan cheese. I am seriously a sucker for black truffles. What Haven does well with this American staple is prevent it from becoming an overwhelmingly heavy dish. The flavors are very rich but I didn't feel like laying down in a coma after having some of the mac and cheese. Normally this dish makes me feel like that in other restaurants. The crunchy top added a nice crisp to each bite too.

One of my friends got the beef cheek poutine which had red wine braised beef cheek, Port Salut cheese, and pomme frites. All of our first thoughts when we saw the dish was that it was definitely a beefy dish. The greasiness stuck out next because some of the fries were becoming translucent from all the oils coming from both the beef and the melted cheese curds. It was a flavorful dish with wonderfully soft pieces of beef cheek. I liked the cheese that was used because it didn't take away from the beef's flavor even though it was quite savory itself. The pomme frites were Haven's typical pomme frites so of course, delicious.

My other friend got the Haven burger which had pickled red onions, roasted red bell peppers, wild arugula, and St. Agur cheese. That came with pomme frites and housemade ketchup. I can't say too much on this because I didn't really have it except for a small bite of the medium rare patty. It was delicious. Maybe I'll get this burger next time when I'm not so bloated from beer and other food tastings. I really love how Haven is not only a great place to drink but also a fantastic place to eat.