Haven Gastropub in Orange has been part of the Orange County dining scene for the last nine years. The restaurant recently introduced its new Executive Chef, Craig Brady, who served as Chef de Cuisine for four years from 2012 to 2016, and spent two years at The Ranch in Anaheim as Executive Sous Chef before his return to Haven Gastropub.
We were invited to preview the new menu recently, which has been updated to reflect a fresher, lighter approach to gastropub fare.
(Please note the photos shown are tasting portions and may not reflect how the dish is served and presented to guests.)
While beers still feature heavily on the libations menu …
… the array of wine and cocktails is also rather impressive.
I started with Penicillin ($14) using Glenlivet Founders Reserve as its base. Add to that ginger, honey, lemon, and a mist of Laphroaig single malt scotch whisky. Refreshing and so easy to drink.
Start with Parker House Rolls, a lovely offering of four airy rolls served with savory cultured butter, and sea salt. Chef is still tweaking this item, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it on the menu yet.
Chef Brady is also running a special right now. Nashville Hot Crabs ($14) are soft shelled crabs fried, then tossed in a fiery hot sauce that might make your mouth burn a little. They are crispy and so delicious I wanted more! Get them while they’re available.
Chicken Liver Toast ($12) is a gorgeous presentation of country-style rustic bread topped with Harry’s berries, strawberries, pickled mustard seed, and port syrup. The chicken liver mousse is unctuous, while relatively light on the palate. The sweetness from the berries, combined with the tartness of the mustard seeds come together for a perfect mouthful of contrasting textures and flavors.
Whether you’re an adult or kid, you’ll love the Veal & Pork Meatballs ($14) served with tomato sugo, burrata, and roasted garlic pesto. The fork-tender meatballs are served in a skillet which ensures they are hot for the duration of time it takes for you to eat them. While it is listed as a starter, you may not want to share it with the table once you try them.
Fresh pasta is always a thing of beauty and Braised Lamb Pappardelle ($26) is a perfect dish encompassing house-made hand-cut aleppo pepper pasta — yes there is definitely a hint of heat — fava beans, and baby carrots. The dish is tied together with a robust lamb jus that makes your mouth dance with delight.
The new menu also features a handful of vegetables dishes such as Coriander Roasted Baby Carrots ($11) with harissa yogurt, smoked almonds, and lemon zest. Quite frankly, the carrots were so good on their own I didn’t need the harissa yogurt at all.
The dishes, while still keeping in tune with gastropub fare, are lighter, fresher and well-executed. I like the updated, well-balanced flavors, reflecting a modern and elevated approach to classic favorites.
190 S Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866