Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Haven Gastropub (Pasadena, CA)

Haven Gastropub had become a favorite in Orange County, and it recently opened a second location in Old Town Pasadena, complete with a (future) brewery. I was recently invited to a media tasting and had a six course paired meal that went beyond the image I had in mind of a "gastropub." Sure, there were beer food, like the beef cheek poutine pictured below, but there were much more.


Haven Brewery
The brewery part of Haven is encased in glass so you can see the stills. They weren't operating when I was there since they were still gearing up, but hopefully that will happen soon. In the meantime, they have plenty of great beers from other breweries on tap!

When I arrived, I didn't realize I was going to have my whole meal paired, so I ordered a beer to start off with: an Ommegang Aphrodite, which is a fruit beer made with raspberry and beer. It's not a sweet beer but it certainly is fruity.
They also have cocktails that are riffs of old classics, like this Walnut Manhattan. I found the cocktails to be a bit unbalanced, though. I'd stick with the beers!
Walnut Manhattan
The first course was something I expected from a gastropub: Mac n' Cheese with black truffles, gruyere, fontina, parmesan. This was paired with Bacchus sour ale.
Mac n Cheese
This was a good version of mac n cheese, with a nice crispy crust and rich creamy cheese. I love the smell of fontina and black truffles.
The sour ale, Bacchus was great. It was not too sour and was pretty light.

There were also a trio of house marinated olives (the black olives were my favorites).

Next is the Pork Rillette - "confiture de cochon" served in a mason jar, house mustard, artisan bread.
These two were paired with Point the Way IPA from the newly opened Golden Road Brewery.
Pork Rillette
Pork rillete made in pork fat. Rich, with a nice (kind of fiber-y) texture.

Moving to the lighter side of the menu with Hiramasa Crudo - ruby red grapefruit, fresno chili, pickled shallot, micro peppercress, pink salt, arbequina oil
Paired with St. George Gin Fizz
Hiramasa Crudo
I loved the hiramasa crudo. The fish was fresh and meaty, the flavors lightly sweet and tart from the grapefruit. There was a crunchiness from chili (which was not too spicy) and also from the pink salt. I found the gin fizz, like the manhattan earlier, a bit unbalanced.
The next two dishes were paired with La Citruielle Celeste de Citracado pumpkin ale (5% ABV), a collaboration by Stone/The Bruery/Elysian.
One is the Pommes Frites - house-cut french fries, fresh herbs, housemade ketchup
The fries were not too greasy and were crispy. Reminiscent of McD's method, the fries were fried once then frozen (which dehydrates the fries), then re-fried to order. The housemade ketchup was, for lack of a better word, zesty.
Having the pumpkin ale by itself, I thought it was very much like a Stone beer, with an interesting smell. The fries were a good pairing, though. Together it brings out more of the pumpkin.

The other dish was the Vegetable Melange - roasted seasonal vegetables, pumpkin gnocchi, toasted pumpkin oil, fried sage, smoked sea salt
Vegetable Melange
My favorite part of the dish was the unusual pumpkin gnocchi, chewy with crisped edges. The rest of the dish was also good - fresh vegetables with just the right amount of sea salt.

The next salad was one of my favorite dishes: Radicchio and Frisee - chevre, cherry tomatoes, truffle vinaigrette, twice-smoked bacon lardons, poached cage-free egg. Paired with Trimbach Pinot Blanc.
My favorite part was the sous vide poached egg combined with the strongly aromatic truffle vinaigrette and the chevre. The tomatoes were also amazingly sweet.

We returned to the heavier, "pub" food with the Beef Cheek Poutine - red wine braised beef cheek, port salut, pommes frites
It's salty and very rich, but I had a very hard time saying no to the melted Port Salut!

Seasonal flat bread - butternut squash puree, zoe's pancetta, goat cheese, mustard greens, walnut oil.
Paired with Malm Cellars Haven's Blend.
I was worried that this flat bread would be dry since it's only covered with butternut squash, but that wasn't the case. The pancetta and the sweet butternut squash were a good combo.

Duo of Quail - pan roasted quail, housemade quail sausage, hen of the woods mushrooms, butternut squash puree, black mission fig jam
Paired with N'Ice Chouffe Belgian Strong by Achouffe
I'm a big fan of both quail and figs so obviously I thoroughly enjoyed this. I'm also a big fan of Belgian strong ales, I might add, so the Chouffe was easily my favorite beer of the night!

Chef Greg
Executive Chef Greg Daniels was overseeing our whole meal that night, and we certainly had a wonderful one. I only hope that when he's not around in this location, the kitchen can still maintain the same quality consistently! Especially after they've settled in a bit.

We weren't done, as we still had desserts! The dessert section at the Pasadena Haven is Pastry Chef Santanna Salas, though some of the desserts were Chef Daniels' creations (he does credit Chef Salas for making it look better than before).

We had a trio of dessert samplers, all three were unusual. The first, and perhaps the most unusual was the Foie Gras Cheesecake with hibiscus gel, vanilla crumble
Foie Gras Cheesecake
The taste of foie gras is not as strong here as with the foie gras ice cream at Petrossian, but it's a wonderfully smooth cheesecake and the light foie gras does come out at the end.

A deconstructed Peanut Butter and Jelly with blackberry sorbet, peanut brittle, crispy sourdough
Peanut Butter and Jelly

The housemade blackberry sorbet was incredible. Incredible.

Red Velvet Beet Cake, milk chocolate mousse, candied beet chips, spicy pecans
Beet Cake
I heard that before the days of artificial food coloring, they use beets to make the color for red velvet cake. Maybe they should've used the beets for the flavor as well then too, because this cake was great!

We had quite an extensive and wonderful tasting at Haven gastropub. I was pleasantly surprised at the food that they actually offer here. Our meal wasn't filled with burgers or fish and chips like one would typically expect from a "pub" (though their lamb burger is supposedly the best in OC). Instead, I can go to old town Pasadena for great beers on tap while enjoying things like hiramasa crudo, housemade pork rillettes, and housemade quail sausage - not to mention finishing off with creative desserts like foie gras cheesecake and beet cake!

Haven Gastropub
Haven Gastropub
42 S. De Lacey Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 768-9555
Haven Gastropub (Pasadena) on Urbanspoon



The desserts seem too avant garde for gastropub fare. Also, why isn't the brewery operating yet? I heard that they were having issues with permits.


the crude looks delish!!

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