Houston Restaurant Weeks: Haven

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What they're up to for Restaurant Weeks: Haven is offering brunch, lunch and dinner for HRW. Lunch and brunch are each $20 and include two courses (no dessert). Dinner is $45 and includes an appetizer, an entrée and dessert.

Service/Atmosphere: My mother and I decided on a late dinner at Haven kind of last minute, but we were pleased that, though the restaurant doesn't close until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, there was no wait at 9 p.m., even without reservations (though I'd recommend them just in case). The wait staff was friendly and attentive and the food arrived quickly. The big dining room can get loud when crowded, so dinner may not be an intimate experience.

Items that won't be on the regular menu: Many of the HRW menu items are regular dishes at Haven, but a few of our favorites are only around for a limited time. Forest Mushroom Pasta comes with a variety of sautéed and pickled mushrooms and creste di galli pasta in a thick herb sauce heavy on the thyme (in a good way). A cut of 44 Farms Tare Glazed Beef Coulotte with fried rice or Akaushi Chopped Steak with mashed potatoes are also HRW specials. For dessert, Haven is offering Chocolate Fudge Cake or Chilled Melon Soup, which are not on the regular menu.

Don't Miss This Dish: The standout dish from our dinner was definitely the glazed beef coulotte, which was a large serving of juicy, medium-rare top sirloin cap. Coulotte steak can be tough, but this is marinated long enough in a ponzu sauce that it's tender and easily cut with a knife. It's served with a side of smoked beef fried rice that's a great dish on its own. For dessert, try the Coconut Tres Leches Bread Pudding. This isn't a Restaurant Weeks special, and it's clear why it's on the menu year-round. The meringue on top is toasted and not too sweet, and the creamy dulce de leche sauce tasted like a little bit of caramel heaven.

Don't Bother: Surprisingly, the arugula salad, a standard menu option, was lackluster and wilted. The dressing was barely discernible as something vinegary and citrusy, but the delicate arugula leaves were soaked in it. The candied pecans added a nice crunch, but unfortunately, the salad was already crunchy due to some under ripe peaches.

Final verdict: A wonderful value for a restaurant that's usually fairly pricey. The beef coulotte isn't on the regular menu, but a similar dish costs $38. The wine options are reasonable too; We spent $25 on a bottle of Barbera d'Alba that we were able to take home and enjoy again the next night. We also had leftovers from dinner. HRW at Haven is a great choice for a date night or family celebration, but be sure to reserve a table.

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