Executive Chef Todd Erickson Talks Haven Gastro-Lounge, Opening Tonight

​Haven Gastro-Lounge opens tonight on the very far west side of Lincoln Road.

The 2,000-square-foot, 120-seat space has grey walls, where projectors will change the ambiance of the room from tropical rain forest to mountain terrain at the touch of a button.

Guests will enjoy live DJs on state-of-the-art sound systems while having a cocktail at the Siberian onyx bar or lounging at one of the black leather and American walnut banquettes.

In order for Haven to be a true gastro-lounge, the food has to be as intriguing as the decor. We spoke to Executive Chef Todd Erickson yesterday, as he was preparing for Haven's "Friends and Family Night", a dress-rehearsal for 50 invited guests before the official opening.

Chef Erickson said the menu of small plates ("that's my favorite way to eat"), designed to pair with Haven's hand-crafted cocktails, will be a "globe trotting journey of tastes."

Erickson has a story behind most of his dishes, like the Maki Peru. "My friend's from Peru and they love sushi there because of access to all the fresh fish. So I've made a shrimp tempura roll with hamachi ceviche, topped with traditional Peruvian tiger's milk (basically the juice from the ceviche) and pisco."

Other offerings include Jamaican jerk chicken skewers with a scotch bonnet and honey glaze and lobster scallop ceviche with passion fruit, coconut, and lemon verbena oil.

Possibly the most intriguing offering is the liquid nitrogen ice cream. Each night, Chef Erickson will create an ice cream of the night (current flavors he's working on are Mexican hot chocolate with caramelized bacon and strawberry rhubarb scone). "I have the ice cream mix prepared daily and when a guest orders, I custom make it with the liquid nitrogen so it arrives at their table smoking. It's fun."

Erickson hopes Haven becomes a favorite with South Beach locals. "This is your living room, I want you to come in, relax and enjoy it." 1237 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

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