Nicole Caldwell

Press for Haven and Me in OC Metro

Haven Gastropub – Dining Review | OC METRO Magazine

You won’t find Coke or Pepsi on the menu at Haven Gastropub, but you will find RC Cola and Diet Rite – and a lamb burger and spiced pork belly and bacon ice cream.So has the word “unique” popped into your mind yet? No? Well, then, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention. I will continue.

Fois gras cheesecake. Hog’s head roulade. Whole roasted pig. (Before you luau fans all jump into your cars, I will warn you that the latter must be ordered days in advance and is only for parties of six to 14. But really, who could eat a whole pig by himself, anyway?)

And get this: Everything is really delicious. Even the hog’s head.

I have to admit, I was reluctant to try what is essentially a rolled-up pig’s face; the folks at Haven call it Porschetta di Testa. It sounds so much more appetizing in Ital- ian. But, for the sake of research, I pushed aside that finicky nonsense and scooped up a helping. As my fork lifted the meat from the plate, it became clear just how painstaking the process of creating this dish must be. The seasoned, salty pork is cut so thin, it melts in your mouth. Chef Greg Daniels teams the roulade with arugula tossed in a lemon-shallot vinaigrette, and then tops that with shaved pecorino. Hog heaven.

Something else you’d be hard- pressed to find anywhere else: the Curried Goat Poutine. Daniels takes goat shoulder and braises it for hours until the meat just simply falls apart – moist, tender, delicious. Then he takes the shreds of meat, adds it to an insanely divine curry sauce, spoons that over a helping of french fries, drops a few dollops of cheddar cheese curd on top and then pops it in the broiler so the curd turns crispy and golden.

And while the fois gras cheesecake and bacon ice cream are certainly worthy contenders for dessert, my fave is the Irish Car Bomb – warm Guinness chocolate cake topped with Guinness ice cream and drizzled with Irish Cream chocolate sauce and Jameson caramel.

How’s that for unique?

To read the full piece by Tina Borgatta in OC Metro’s digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Images by Nicole Caldwell Studio Thanks to Mona Shah and Moxxe

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