As the great American-writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail”.
Having it’s doors open for less than 5 years, Haven Gastropub has already grounded itself as one of the premier restaurants of Orange County. In just it’s opening year, Haven won “The Best New Restaurant of 2009” by both OC WEEKLY and The Orange County Register.
With a great atmosphere and restaurant layout, the aspect that really sets Haven apart is executive chef, Greg Daniels. Born and raised in Southern California, Chef Daniels, inspired by his love of reading, has created a unique menu packed with local and organic produce, seafood, and beef. However, the only thing I really want to talk about right now, is the burger!
Menu Name: The Haven Burger ($14.00)
Beef: Short Rib & Chuck Blend
Cheese: St. Agur (Type of Blue)
Onions: Pickled Red
Greens: Wild Rocket Arugula
Peppers: Roasted Red Bell
Sauce: Garlic Aioli
So imagine this: You’re free falling from thousands of feet in the air, and when you begin to see the ground, you realize you’ve had wings the whole time and begin to then fly away. This is exactly what this first bite tasted like.
Flooded with roasted red bell peppers, the pickled onions, and the St. Agur cheese, I assure you, your mouth will be drowning in the most delightful mix of flavors. The bell peppers and pickled onions give each other a balance between spice and sour, while the St. Agur graciously wraps everything together.
And let us not forget the defining part of the burger — The blended patty! Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the short rib and chuck blend magnificently melted in your mouth with each returning bite. Juices overflowing, each droplet was caught by a monster of a bun.
Sourdough, oh how I’ve missed the flavor you add to the burger. Thick and somewhat daunting from the outside, yet wonderfully soft inside, this bun calmly collected all the juices as well as that amazing house-made garlic aioli.
To be honest, the best part of the burger has to be this bun and aioli combo. It really completed the meal while providing proper stability for the burger.
Let’s get to the fries for a quick second… House-cut, garlic & herb seasoned, and served with house-made ketchup, these fries were good. Just good though. They had a little less garlic then I would have preferred, thus resulting in a less robust flavor. Yet, they were fried well and complemented the meal.
On the real though, this entire burger was sensational.
There was not one sub-par aspect of this burger. Even going into it, I was worried about the sourness of the pickled onions. But fear not my friends, because they were delightful, especially paired with the freshness of the arugula.
Although $14.00 for a burger can get a bit pricy, it’s for a good cause.
Due to it’s great burger, great beer, and great atmosphere (aside from our pal, Nick); Haven has one of my favorite burgers in Orange County.
*Pardon the Interruption*
Just a quick shout-out to my homeboy/server at Haven Gastropub, Nicholas… Yo man, just wanna let you know, you’re an asshole. The service you provided my table with was exceptionally terrible. Excuse me for asking what the bun was made out of, because it wasn’t labeled on the menu.
*End of DFB-Service Announcement*
Anyway, aside from Nick’s sneer’s and snide remarks, the restaurant is great, and the burger is even better.