Not so long ago I mentioned that the glazed pork ears from Haven Gastropub was one of my favorite items at the LA Street Food Fest, despite having never stepped into their Old Town Pasadena establishment before. Bread and Butter PR decided to rectify this immediately and invited me to the inauguration of Burger Haven, the restaurant-within-a-restaurant casual dining experience from the masterminds of Haven Gastropub.
Powering through an unfortunate bout of food poisoning (from an upmarket grocery store that shall remain nameless), I still managed to make it just in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Wil Dee, Chef Greg Daniels and Ace Patel
With the lure of a free juicy burger of their choice to the first 100 customers, it came as no surprise to me when I arrived to see a line wrapped around the corner, eventually stretching to Green Street:
Despite the heat, the crowd was strong and gaining in numbers. The staff of Haven Gastropub made sure to hand out menus to ensure an efficient ordering process once the time came to open the doors. One of the owners took the ribbon from the cutting ceremony and created a memento out of it by having everyone in line (before the doors opened) sign it.
While the doors did not exactly open at 11:00am on the dot, as an eye witness on the inside, I can attest to the fact that the staff was doing a last minute quality control meeting, taking bites of each burger to make sure it was consistently matching the standards of which chef Greg Daniels envisioned.
Sitting among the ladies of Bread and Butter, we ordered four burgers between us:
McCormick Alley Burger
paso prime grass-fed beef | grafton 2 yr. aged cheddar | bacon stout jam | shaved red onion | butter lettuce | house sauce
I almost did not order this burger because I usually do not like bacon on my burger, but not only was I assured that the bacon was part of the jam, it also did not smother the burger with an overabundance of bacon-y taste. How very correct my advisers were and I love that the McCormick is there for those of us who enjoy a traditional burger with a centralized twist.
Shake and Bake
Mary’s free range chicken | corn flakes coating | rosemary mashed potatoes | collard greens | gravy | honey mustard | jalapeno-habanero bun
A big winner at my table, the Shake and Bake is a superb alternative to red meat, or if you’re in the mood for a Southern inspired change-up. It was a wee too heavy on the starch for my liking, but the gravy and potatoes did an excellent job of masking the collard greens, which I typically do not indulge in. The chicken was very tender on the inside while maintaining a satisfying crunch on the outside.
cheddar cheese polenta | vegetarian black beans | hatch chili | house sauce | fried green tomatoes | pickles | jalapenos
I cannot comment on this as I did not try it, but the two ladies who did split it said they enjoyed it quite a bit. I asked how prevalent the cheddar was within the polenta and received a so-so response from both. Nice to know there is a non-soy based vegetarian option out there, and bonus points for the ingenious use of fried green tomatoes.
Here’s the Kicker
paso prime grass-fed beef | habanero + smoked serrano powder | blistered jalapenos | pickled ghost chili + radish salad | jalapeno-habanero bun | sour cream
Saved the best for last! Though I only tasted a quarter of this smoldering hot burger, The Kicker was definitely my favorite. Though not for the weak stomached, Here’s the Kicker is sure to scorch its way to any heat lovers heart. This is the burger I instantly wanted more of and am still craving, nearly a week later.
What better beverage to wash all of this gluttony down with than a Nutella milkshake? I’m pleased to say that it was as rich and luxurious as it sounds and definitely lived up to the standards of the Nutella brand. Made with Haven’s own ice cream, no less!
42 De Lacey Avenue (McCormick Alley side entrance)
Pasadena, CA 91105
Burger Haven Menu
7 days a week | 11a-3p for lunch
FTC Disclosure: The meal was on the house, but the opinions are all my own!