Roast Chicken with Bacon Spaetzle and Crispy Brussels Sprouts at Haven

Chicken is usually the last thing on my mind when I go to a "nice" restaurant. I usually want to try interesting meat dishes I would never be able to replicate at home. I have come to expect, however, that even the most exotic establishments will usually offer a rather plain chicken-centric entrée specifically designed for more conservative and/or restrictive diners. The formula for said entree is as follows: white meat chicken, starch, and vegetable topped with unassuming sauce or glaze. It's a combination that is generally inoffensive, somewhat satisfying, and definitely boring.

The Roast Chicken with Bacon Spaetzle and Crispy Brussels Sprouts at Haven is the exception to this rule.

I admit I only ordered the chicken because of its accompaniments. My initial choice of entrée was the quail, but the allure of bacon spaetzle and brussel sprouts (which to me are like vegetable candy) was too strong to resist.

And, indeed, they were divine: buttery, hand-twisted noodles mixed with salty bits of pork meat and fat, and crunchy Brussels sprout leafs. I rapidly consumed half the serving, then finally turned to the chicken.

My poor abandoned roast chicken was still warm and, even more surprisingly, tasted good. Quite good, actually. The meat was juicy and tender, and the skin well-seasoned and wonderfully crispy. After a few bites, I was ignoring the side dishes in favor of the chicken and wishing I had been given two breasts instead of just one. (Hmm, that came out wrong. But you know what I mean.)

The take-home lesson of the night: I shouldn't be so quick to overlook "boring" dishes. If well-prepared, they might just steal the show.

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Joanna O'Leary