Chef/restaurateur Daniel Patterson may be best known for his Michelin Two Star restaurant Coi in San Francisco. But he is also building quite an empire across the Bay in Oakland. His latest gem is Haven at Jack London Square.
The design of the restaurant gives off a very rustic feel with wood and brick as two of the predominant features. The space has multiple seating areas; in the front of the restaurant is a lounge-like area along with seating around the bar. The main dining room has plenty of tables and there is also counter seating in front of the open kitchen.
First impressions about a restaurant can tell a lot about what to expect and I was a bit turned off at Haven. The hostess was not the warmest I have ever met. In fact, the one minor complaint I do have about the restaurant is that the service was a bit uneven. At most points it was great, attentive and very helpful; occasionally though, customer service skills were just okay, with a little something lacking.
But there are no complaints about the food. Chef Kim Alter and her staff do an amazing job of almost presenting a story with each dish. Both starters and entrees are wonderful, fresh takes on classic American cuisine. Like Patterson’s other restaurants, Coi and Plum, dishes are like artwork on each and every plate. The only difference is that Haven is focusing more on a “family meal” concept. Plates are meant to be shared and portions are large enough for exactly that. Starters feature plenty of variety from a soup, gem salad, beets, clams and bone marrow. Entrees offer that same variety: steaks, seafood, lamb, pork and even a plate of market vegetables. Although I love all of the food, the desserts are truly out of this world; just really imaginative and scrumptious. The cocktail program is terrific as well and there is a nice beer and wine list to boot.
Location-wise, Haven is in a perfect spot at Jack London Square. Slowly but surely, the area is starting to fill in with businesses and restaurants. Expectations are to eventually start lunch and brunch service later this spring or early in the summer.
Haven is located at 44 Webster Street in the heart of Jack London Square. The restaurant is open daily from 5-10 pm and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday night.