Oak Haven Table & Bar, located at 932 State Street, is a hidden gem in New Haven. Oak Haven offers an inviting and cozy atmosphere where one can dine on fresh flavorful food or enjoy a drink and conversation with friends.
As stated on their website, their mission is to “sell fresh and unique food and drinks.” Chef Meg Fama is passionate about cooking and visits local farms often to get the freshest ingredients available to form the basis of her menu. With that in mind, their menu will vary depending on what is available. She takes what she can get and figures out what amazing cuisine she can create that blends “modern-creative and classical cooking styles”.
Oak Haven sources the majority of their ingredients from Connecticut farms, including Four Mile River Farm in Old Lyme, Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury, Starlight Gardens out of Durham, Chaplin Farms in Lebanon, and Stone Garden Farms in Shelton. A complete list of the farms can be viewed on their website.
It was interesting to learn from Spencer, our knowledgeable and friendly server, that Oak Haven has 3 different ice cube shapes in order to match ice to the drink for the proper melting. Not sure how many other places do this and this is actually the first time we have ever heard of anyone doing it. You can order a flight of bourbon from their list of over 30 different bourbons. A good majority of their cocktails and martinis center around whiskey and bourbon and Probation era style of cocktails. For those who prefer the grape, they have a decent list of whites, reds, and sparkling. For the beer lover, they offer three on tap and nearly 28 from the bottle. Every day they have a “Market Special” that your server will gladly explain to you. With a few of their bourbon based drinks, they house-age them in oak barrels to let the ingredients blend and develop the flavors.
Two of the cocktails we tried were the Bon Vivant and Death in the Afternoon. The Bon Vivant was a blend of Johnny Drum private stock bourbon, Cocchi american blanc, Carpano bianco and hopped grapefruit bitters house aged in oak barrels. The perfect drink for a cold, wintery December night. Death in the Afternoon contained Owney’s Brooklyn silver rum, Cantonginger liquer, cherry rosemary syrup, and lime juice.
Now that we are seated time, to dive into the food. Starting with simply delicious Autumn Rolls filled with shredded market fresh vegetables that were wrapped in a crispy wrapper served with a sweet plum sauce. These were followed by golden brown Rhode Island Blue Crab Cakes: dual crispy crab cakes with house made romoulade. This sweet and gummy cake was probably 90 to 95 percent crab, only enough other ingredients to bind the cake.
Up next were Rhode Island Mussels in a Narragansent beer broth with herbs and garlic. These did not last long at the table, they were sooo good. Bread was provided to soak up the light broth.
Time for a some vegetables, so Brussel Sprouts cooked in garlic and shallots with a maple reduction it was. We would had preferred them to have been roasted with a bit more of the maple reduction as they didn’t seem to be that flavorful and were a little on the crunchy side.
Not normally listed on the menu, but usual available are Rhode Island Clams in a nice spicy Fra Diavolo broth. Boy was that broth deep with flavor. Good thing they brought us bread to soak up that broth as we didn’t leave a drop!
The hit of the night was the Cassoulet, a warm and comforting combination of sausage, mushrooms, carrots, onions, local white beans, local greens in a wine broth and topped with Parmesan. Another thing you must try on a cold Connecticut day. A little more sausage would have put this dish in the stratosphere.
We closed out the meat, fish, and veggie portion with Day Boat Scallops. These beautifully seared Stonington scallops came with a tarragon cream sauce accompanied by bacon bits and market vegetables.
Closing out the sampling of delicious food was a simple dessert tray, which consisted of freshly baked cookies, bread pudding cubes, and shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream. The chocolate chip cookies were quickly consumed and were the favorite at the table.
Happy hour at Oak Haven is Monday through Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Oak Haven is open Monday through Saturday from 5:00 to 12:30 am and Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm with Brunch from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Keeping everything as fresh as possible, they even make their ketchup in house. Chef Meg does a fantastic job using seasonally available ingredients to create tasteful cuisine. We cannot wait to go back every season to taste what Chef Meg creates with the next season’s offerings.
Oak Haven invited us in for a complimentary tasting and the opinions we share about our experience are our own. We do not consider ourselves food critics nor food experts. Our goal is to share what the restaurant has to offer, give you a bit of our own opinion and let you decide for yourselves. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.