Daniel Patterson is raising the culinary bar in the East Bay so high that pretty soon there will be little reason to pay that bridge toll. His flagship restaurant might be in San Francisco but he's steadily building a very worthy fleet right here in Oakland.
First there was Plum and then Plum Bar. Now, his latest venture, Haven, located in Jack London Square will leave you awestruck in every way. The décor is at once hip, contemporary, cozy and warm. The attention to detail is crazy and everything they place on the table screams supremely tactile - from the monogrammed felt coasters, to the Heath ceramics, to the air plants in place of flowers, to the sea salt that's so tasty it must be worth it's weight in gold.
Notice I haven't even gotten to the food yet, which can only be described as over the top. No, maybe decadent redefined is a better description. They say "technique-driven food" - yeah, I'll say. The list of techniques is long and varied including sous-vide, foams, reductions, firelit - all producing combinations that are as incredible to look at as they are to eat.
We ordered five different dishes from pasta to scallops to chicken to cauliflower to dessert and they were all so painstakingly prepared and presented that I cannot pick a favorite.
The handcrafted cocktails featuring concoctions like the Clipper Ship with gin, elderflower, lime, and fresh fennel juice clearly require the same dedication to quality and technique as the food.
Then there's the music which is edgy, loud and unexpected - especially for a "fancy restaurant". You'll likely hear something from The Vines or The Big Pink. And even if you don't normally listen to their music, you will like it because it keeps you on your toes and completely engaged in a full-sensory experience.
I've saved one of the the best features for last and that is the top-notch service. Yes, the wait staff is prompt, friendly and professional but that is not what ranks as over the top. Their true skill lies in their deep knowledge and enthusiasm for each and every item on that menu. Like a captain needs a crew, they make navigating this restaurant so much more rewarding.
Yes, Heaven - I mean Haven indeed.