Food News

Haven Launches Summer Menu: Squid Fries Made With Graham Cracker

With its one year anniversary fast approaching, Haven Lounge has revamped the menu to fit the season.

The new nibbles will be available Friday at the Lincoln Road gastro-lounge. "These are just additions, not the full menu," says executive chef Todd Erickson. "I wanted to add familiar summer favorites while also bringing a few more luxury items as well as exotic flavors."

New additions to the Crudo section include shrimp & grits: tiger shrimp tossed with whole hominy corn, grilled sweet corn, red onion, tabasco, lime juice, fresno chiles, and aji panca.

But if you're not into a south of the border compilation of flavors, Haven has you covered. "Seoul" as in, the one in South Korea, will feature thinly slices yellowtail with shaved napa cabbage, pine nuts, asian pear, chives, basil, and kimchee vinaigrette.

If you've been to Haven in the recent past, you'll remember the Green, or salad, section on the menu included Waldorf, seaweed, and forest salads. But Erickson has changed the whole section. Incoming "seasonally suitable," as Erickson explained, choices include the Melon with watermelon, japanese cucumber, feta cheese, local mint and house-preserved lemons.

Who said the combo of soup and salad was overrated? Haven's "gazpacho" salad isn't quite the same but with a little imagination, anything can happen. "It's a Spanish nod to the traditional panzanella salad," he said. This is typically chunky tomatoes and bread that is too stale or hard to eat. It's something of a leftover. The gazpacho salad, however, will have large chunks of gazpacho vegetables, drizzled with cold pressed olive oil and gazpacho vinaigrette. You toss it all together when it arrives at your table.

"The Ranch salad is a little bit of my Texas roots coming out," the chef told us. Romaine lettuce, charred tomatoes, pickled okra, house sweet-hot chow chow, goat cheese, and crumbled chicharron with a "super herbaceous buttermilk" ranch dressing. Gather up, y'all.

Erickson explained to us that he believes the two new skewers have the potential to become instant Haven classics, the first of which is the grilled cheese, with grilled and marinated haloumi cheese, atop brioche with micro basil and heirlooms. Each grilled cheese skewer is served with a tall shooter of super creamy tomato bisque, of course. If a comfort food skewer isn't tickling your fancy, though, you can always go with the new Bangkok skewer with nuoc chom marinated shrimp on carrot, haricots verts, and grape tomato salad with sambal lime vinaigrette and a touch of palm sugar.

Sushi at Haven is getting a complete makeover with the addition of beef tataki. Think quick pickled daikon, shiso, chives, basil, and white truffle ponzu spiked with American sturgeon caviar. That's a mouthful, isn't it? As long as the idea of creepy-crawlies don't bother you too much, Haven's putting a twist on the classic "spider" roll. The new take will feature spicy katakuri ko (a Japanese starch) dredged soft shell crab with avocado, sweet corn, and wasabi remoulade.

Ever heard of graham cracker and squid? Neither have we, but, the "squid fries" at Haven will surely give us an idea. The new Crisp item, "squid fries," is a graham cracker-panko crusted squid steak fry with guava-chili lime sauce, lime zest and epazote chiffonade.

Finally, "we're going with the classic flavors of a New Orleans fried fish "po-boy" slider," Erickson told us. Grilled onion, heirloom tomato, remoulade sauce, and romaine will garnish it.

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Alex Rodriguez