A talented chef finds safe Haven in Oakland
From top: The dining room overlooking
the waterfront; Baked California
At Haven, Daniel Patterson's latest restaurant in Oakland's Jack London Square, chef Kim Alter has hit her stride.
Consider the smoked pasta: the noodles, made with smoked flour, are combined with onion soubise, pancetta and an egg yolk, which emulsifies the lot into a sumptuous riff on pasta carbonara ($13).
Alter, who has cooked at Ubuntu and Manresa, makes a damn fine salad. Little gems are topped with blue cheese and sheets of crunchy chicken skin ($12); for the chicory salad ($12), the bitter greens are laced with pomegranate and cumin seeds, mint and cubes of gingery apple.
You'll need a salad to offset the main courses. Shepherd's Pie ($25) is an amalgam of spiced ground pork, braised pork belly and potato espuma, crowned with crisped potato skin and halved fingerlings.
Alter's take on lamb shanks ($26) features tender meat, carrots and cipollini onions that have absorbed the flavor of the braising liquid, Firelit coffee liqueur.
At meal's end there's Baked California ($10), pastry chef Matt Tinder's take on Baked Alaska. The dome of browned meringue hides vanilla ice cream and orange sorbet, and is paired with lightly salted avocado purée.
It heralds both the return of this classic dessert and the genius of this new restaurant.
Haven, 44 Webster St. (at First St.); Oakland; 510-663-4440 or havenoakland.com
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