The Other Critics

Kauffman Loves the ‘Brawn’ of the Food at Haven; Miller Adores The Ice Cream Bar

The chef's counter at Haven.
The chef’s counter at Haven. Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Jonathan Kauffman files the first review of Haven in Oakland, where chef Kim Alter has been turning out some solid food since December in the newest restaurant in the Daniel Patterson empire. Like us, Kauffman is stirred and impressed by Alter’s cooking, and he writes, “Haven’s bold flavors and big portions will appeal to the timid, while the balance and complex construction of the dishes will get those of us who eat for sport.” He loves the inverted Buffalo wing salad, which is Alter’s unique take on the ubiquitous Little Gem salad. He also praises the “gutsy and rustic” smoked pasta dish, which he calls an “American carbonara.” He also loves the chicken dish that he compares to one that came before it at Plate Shop, when Alter was there last year. His only complaint is that “there are times when Alter can’t check the brawn of her food, and bacon is usually implicated.” [SF Weekly]

Virginia Miller provides us with the first full review of The Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley, writing that it’s “no 1950s milkshake time capsule,” and that she’s never seen “this level of detail and historicity anywhere” in the burgeoning soda fountain revival. She’s especially a fan of the wild cherry phosphate, which she promises “tastes of fresh, wild cherries,” as well as the Ode to Mr. O’Neil, which she calls “an elevated Brooklyn egg cream.” She also says that the ice cream is of very high quality, and notes that the food menu is launching soon. And, she did a separate interview with resident mixologist/soda jerk Russell Davis in which he explains that many talented bartenders turned to the soda jerking thing during Prohibition, leading to much creativity in the non-alcoholic realm. [SFBG]

Kauffman Loves the ‘Brawn’ of the Food at Haven; Miller Adores The