Sunday, November 22, 2009

HAVEN, IT'S DARN CLOSE TO HEAVEN


Just outside the hubbub of Buckhead in the Brookhaven neighborhood resides HAVEN. Here owner, Michel Arnette (Pricci, Veni Vidi Vici, Buckhead Dinner) and chef extraordinaire Stephen Herman (Charleston Grill, Joel) use seasonal and local ingredients to bring flavors to life in this cozy neighborhood eatery. One notices immediately at this classy urban restaurant is the courtyard-style garden patio. Living in Atlanta, patio dining should be a requirement and not a luxury. HAVEN delivers this luxury with a comforting country-like touch that makes dining in the South so special. If Mother Nature is being good, do it…

Walking indoors, the floor to ceiling wine rack is a piece of art. Michel has put together a well thought wine list that represents some the best American food friendly values on the market. Besides wines, bar keeper, Gary Pennington creates drinks on the fly to suit your desires. This veteran bartender is most known for having “your signature drink” waiting for you at the end of the bar as you walk in the door. Mine was made with the in-liquor “Firefly”, mint, and lime, it was like drinking an iced tea but with a kick- wow!!! Try the amazing Truffled Potato Hay; the finely shaved richly flavored potato strings make for great table munchies….

Chef Stephen has put together a menu that showcases his talents. The delicate mellow tasting flash fried crispy gulf oysters from Apalachicola Bay really come to life with the fried cornichons (pickled gherkins)- such diverse yet complimenting flavors. From Maine’s ultra-rich eco-system come the plump, sweet tasting Blue Hill Bay mussels that are bathing in a smoked chipotle sauce that is worthy of asking for additional grilled sourdough bread. These dazzling small plates matched perfectly with the silky, robust, tropical, floral tasting Conundrum, which is a unique blend of five white grape varietals from Monterey County in California,

For meat lovers, the Duck Leg Confit from Jurgielewicz Farms in Pennsylvania with its thick sorghum-sherry sauce is rich and juicy and is complimented with pickled Japanese Hakurei turnip, a nice touch of sweetness to the meat. To not forget the vegetarian, the seasonal yellow Heritage tomato gazpacho, which is marinated overnight in white balsamic, is simply divine; the touch of basil oil adds elegance to this soup. Also, the delightful Dillwood Farm squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese and eggplant is an explosion of heavenly tastes. Gordon, our server, recommended the Steele Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara with its rich complex flavors of earthy dried cherries to make these dish flavors scream- he was right on!!!

To change gears ever so slightly, the Moore Farms butter lettuce with a delicate citrus Saba vinaigrette (made from freshly squeezed grape juice), local brown turkey figs and the creamy yet tangy Flat Creek Lodge Blue cheese is a perfect blend of distinctive fresh flavors- a simple yet imaginative salad.

The versatile Newton Claret with its blueberry and white pepper spice finish went well with the tender Ashley Farm Chicken n’ Dumplings whose juices enhance the herb dumplings, no one makes it like this, sorry Mom. The other white meat “is to die for”, the perfectly grilled, melt in your mouth Heritage Berkshire Pork Rib Chop with a smoky sweet corn and pork belly hash, its simply unbelievable. A great meal should feel like you’re body is getting a treat. So to really treat it, the old fashion banana pudding with vanilla wafers is a great way to do it. The Mer Soleil Late Harvest Viognier takes this dessert to the edge, to heaven.

What Michel and Chef Stephen created is a cheerful neighborhood eatery where food is fun. To help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Bloody Mary, HAVEN serves an unbelievable Sunday Brunch and their Bloody Mary I think is one of the best in the city, it seems to have a splash of magic in it.

LGBTG FRIENDLY ***** (Knowledgable Service Staff)

FOOD ***** (Great Date Spot- Hands on Chef)

PRICE **** (You get what you pay for)

AMBIENCE ***** (Patio / Comfortable Dining)

DRINKS ***** ($5 Bloody Mary/ Mimosa on Sundays)

ADDRESS:

1441 Dresden Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30319

Tel: (404) 969-0700

www.havenrestaurant.com

WHERE WOMENCOME OUT | www.labrysatl.com

Haven on Urbanspoon

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