When Haven opened, a gastrolounge concept seemed the perfect fit for Miami Beach -- if the chef could pull off the "gastro" part of the deal to go with the lounge's sound and video system, which turned the space into a Parisian night scene, a snow-peaked Aspen vista, or a tropical paradise.
Not only did chef Todd Erickson pull off the food, in the past three years, he's earned his stripes as one of the hottest chefs in the Miami food scene. Although Haven could have gone along status quo, Erickson and his team decided to evolve.
For its third anniversary, Haven introduced hydraulic tables, designed by restaurant partner Mike Boles, designed to raise to regular dining height during dinner-time hours and lower to a comfortable lounge level as the night progresses. In addition, 21 menu items were added to compliment the dining room upgrade. Chef Erickson explained the reasoning behind the evolution. "We still have a great crowd, but there were some people who didn't feel comfortable dining on lounge tables. And some people wanted a more substantial menu. So we decided to give people a more traditional dining experience during the early hours, while keeping the lounge feel as the night progresses."
Short Order was invited to try out some of the new menu items. Here's what we enjoyed:
Haven's hokkaido had just the right amount of spice (thanks to kewpie sriracha) to complement the delicate scallop, surimi, and shrimp ($15).
Cool ranch edamame lived up to its name. A favorite table pleaser is given a new lease with house made ranch powder and chives ($6).
Biscuit dough is "dropped" onto a baking sheet to make these "drop biscuits." Served with tangy goat cheese butter, they're a little addictive ($7). Tip: order two servings. If there are any left over (doubtful), take them home for breakfast. The next morning we were jonesing for the one lonely biscuit we should have adopted.
Tater tots are topped with Maytag blue cheese, chives, and sriracha-balsamic ketchup. The result is a sophisticated take on tots -- served nearly Buffalo style ($9).
The hands-down favorite was the cauli-polonaise. Roasted cauliflower is sauteed in black truffle butter then placed in an oven to brown before being topped with an egg. The genius part? Rye crumbles that mimic the crunch and flavor of bacon is a treat for vegetarians and carnivores alike ($11).
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A Korean BBQ beef burger is topped with lotus chips, scallions, and Asian pear. The burgers are big enough to satisfy, small enough to leave room to try some other items ($11).