Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Haven for brunch

Green Chicken Enchiladas at Haven
I probably go out for brunch twice a year. Some might say that's weird for a foodie who loves to hit restaurants. But for me, it just doesn't take priority. On a given Sunday, if I'm not traveling I'm usually focused on stuff like yoga and church and hanging out in my kitchen, engaging in slow food therapy. 

On a whim, Greg and I decided to brave a monsoon for brunch at Haven. Chef Randy Evans continues to win over new fans and sustain loyalists with his straightforward, fresher-than-fresh locally sourced food masterpieces. Greg and I fall into the latter category. Today the restaurant hosted a special event: a 'Family Style Fried Chicken Picnic' event featuring singer and guitarist Ian Moore (Randy said it had sold out quickly - when we heard Ian and smelled that 'come hither' fried chicken, we knew why!).

There are Oysters under these toppings
Greg ordered green  chicken enchiladas with fried egg, onion, crema, cilantro, queso fresco and cilantro rice. Suffice it to say it disappeared quickly and short of a surreptitious plate-licking, nary a lone crumble of queso fresco remained. Greg declared the sauce some of the best ever. I ordered pan seared oysters with spinach, mushrooms, swiss, lardons, herbsaint and crispy onions. The oysters were plentiful, super-juicy, and balanced out by the lardons (like bacon but even better) and only a suggestive splash of herbsaint (an anise-flavored liquor from New Orleans). I loved the generous amount of spinach, and wasn't shy about piling it onto the wood-grilled sourdough slices. This little dish was packed with flavor, and oh so filling.

Close-up of one of the 'don't mess with Texas' sized oysters
And...we shared a side of the famous "housemade" tater tots. Rude not to, right? I mean, we are in Texas, after all. These tots are crazy great. A satisfyingly savory crunchy golden outside protects a gratifyingly pillowy, airy and perfectly seasoned potato-ey inside. No shredded stuff here - just light, smooth elixir.   

"Housemade" Tater Tots
And did I mention that killer gourmet condiment coyly sitting alongside? While it's made of charred, smoky tomatoes, the term 'ketchup' is rather too pedestrian a term to apply to this ambrosia.  I would not suggest the above side dish for daily consumption, however.

Haven describes itself as a seasonal kitchen. Having visited many times, I believe it is more of the perfect kitchen for all seasons. Pull up a chair, and expect to be delighted. You'll be glad you did. 

As a bonus, both Executive Chef and owner Randy Evans and Chef Philippe Gaston visited our table to say hello. Well played Haven, well played!
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  1. Glad you guys made it by! Isn't Haven so great?!

    Be sure you are on their mailing list (or friend me on Facebook) so you can know the next time Ian is able to do an event there. We're hoping for twice a year and they are very special indeed!

  2. Looks great guys...the tator tots look excellent!

    xoxo from Trinidad


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