Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually Pretty Awesome: A Preview of Dishes at Haven
The chicken dish, with farro, fall vegetables, and foie-chicken jus.

Last week we had the pleasure of previewing some of the dishes that chef Kim Alter is working on for Haven, which is still set to open in “late 2011” as of this posting, in Oakland’s Jack London Square. Alter is doing weekly pop-ups on Tuesdays this month at Plum, including one tonight ($60 per person, see menu here), and we’re already pretty excited about her boldly flavored and inventive dishes — a good deal more complex and unexpected than your average California bistro fare — as well as Matt Tinder’s light touch with desserts and the gin-focused cocktail menu by Scott Beattie.

A perfectly seasoned trotter terrine started things off, accompanied by a tangy jar of pickled carrots and string beans. This was followed by a wonderful autumnal salad of warm chicories, with shiso, apple, and pomegranate seeds; a delicious dish of squid with cannelini beans and flatbread; and an astounding and wholly satisfying plate of chicken, partially de-boned and cut up, cooked sous vide and then seared off in a hot pan, and served with farro, root vegetables, and a rich and earthy foie gravy. It’s a dish that called to mind the “whole half chicken” dish Alter was doing at Plate Shop, where the meat was served alongside a jar of chicken liver mousse for dipping.

Dessert was a delicate and creamy combination of citrus vacherin, preserved lemon, pastry cream, yogurt ice cream, and mint.

Suffice it to say, the stuff is promising, and we look forward to seeing more as details about the Haven opening continue to trickle in. See the full slideshow below.

Earlier: Daniel Patterson: The Oakland Update

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
A Dinner of Small Plates at Frances
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare
Aaron London’s Take on Vichyssoise at Ubuntu

By way of previewing the bar-snack selection at Haven, Alter offers up this warm pork trotter terrine served with a jar of pickled beans and carrots, and house-made mustard.
One of the drinks Scott Beattie is working on for the Haven bar menu, featuring St. George Botanivore gin infused with rose aprium, mixed with honey, lemon, and egg white.
Another of the drinks Scott’s working on, using the most esoteric of St. George’s new gins: Terroir. The pine-and-balsam-heavy gin is mixed here with live basil, lime, and agave nectar, and garnished with a bay leaf.
A delicious, cold-weather salad with pomegranate, shiso, ginger, and apple, and a tangy vinaigrette.
Alter serves tender baby squid with soft, well seasoned cannellini beans, smoked garlic, pickled green tomato, and a flatbread made with the dough used for Plum’s hamburger buns.
Our favorite dish, served with farro, fall vegetables, and foie-chicken jus.
Delicate meringue crisps come together with creamy yogurt ice cream, pastry cream, and preserved citrus in this light dessert by pastry chef Matt Tinder.
Actually Pretty Awesome: A Preview of Dishes at Haven