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I had heard about Haven Restaurant located in Brookhaven for several years, but never made it over until a recent Thursday evening. Thanks to owner Michel Arnette for having me in to try Haven out, though I don’t know why they would need me to review them as Haven Restaurant had quite the crowd going on on this weekday evening. Haven Restaurant has been around for 7 years in the mostly residential area of Brookhaven.
I’m not too familiar with the Brookhaven area and it can be tricky to find if you haven’t yet invested in a GPS like me. You see the street sign from Peachtree says Brookhaven one one side and Dresden (which is where you need to turn) on the other. Needless to say I got pretty turned around. But I digress… Pulling up we drove by Haven’s sister restaurant Valenza and noticed it had quite the crowd as well. We decided to forgo the valet, and park ourselves across the street.
The friendly hostess greeted us and gave us the option of indoor or outdoor seating. It is truly beautiful inside Haven, but it is also quite noisy, so we chose outside seating. On this, one of these last few days in May of low(ish) humidity, we took advantage of Haven’s welcoming patio.
Although the mussels are extremely popular on the menu, according to Haven’s owner, Michel, we were kinda musseled out having had them twice the previous week. I would like to go back and have them at some point though, as the smoky tomatoes and chipotle really piqued my interest.
Instead of Haven’s mussels we opted for the crab cake, fried oysters and with little arm twisting from Michel the other wildly popular appetizer, truffled potato hay. These are like crispy little potato sticks with some parmesan cheese thrown in. They are highly addictive and a huge portion – maybe not the best combination if you only have 2 in the party. This is a great and affordable (only $5) appetizer if you’ve got a group of 4 or more.
The crab cake was tasty and served with some grape tomatoes as well. I thought this would be my favorite appetizer, but I actually enjoyed the fried oysters more. They weren’t simply served by themselves. Nope. Haven’s fried oysters come with fried pickles on a bed of creamy lemony grits. While the oysters themselves are tasty, the side dishes only serve to strengthen and compliment the dish.
We put in our appetizer order but not the entree order as we were taking our time deciding what to order. Looking around at the other diners, this seems to be groups of couples and friends in their upper 40s. Not too many gen exers like me here. But the one thing that struck me is how many of the diners seemed to know each other. I saw table after table of customers that at one point or another during the evening recognized someone they knew and were giving them a hug. Not to be excluded, I ran into an acquaintence myself. A true wine connesseiur, she was able to recommend a terrific Shiraz to pair with my dinner.
So, yes, moving onto dinner. After seeing the mussels appetizer come out, I was actually tempted to order it as my main, but then thought I really should order some meat, and went for the duck breast. Glen ordered the Halibut, which was delicious. I loved the crispy outside texture and the flaky tender inside. The pesto broth and shrimp were nice additions as well.
And I was blown away by the portion of the duck breast. It was sliced into medallions and usually when I get a duck breast it is half the size of what I was presented at Haven. Now I’m wishing I hadn’t been such a glutton, and had packed some up to take home with me. The rhubarb included as a side was a sweet and perfect accompaniment to my duck.
Still loving that that lemon flavor that was apparent in the grits, we opted for the lemon cheesecake with strawberries. Definitely a standout as far as desserts go, and is a big enough portion for two to share.
I love the atmosphere at Haven. No wonder it is consistently on OpenTable.com’s top 10 list of hidden gems. I think some regulars are going to be a little annoyed about the word spreading about “their” spot. I saw many diners giving hugs to the hostess as well as Michel, so they’ve definitely become quite popular in the Brookhaven community.
1441 Dresden Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
404 969 0700