The Haven

February 20th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

It’s not my fault, I promise, I’m new to the world of Scottish cuisine, and I’m sure most of you are too. Very, very excited to try Haggis and even more excited for what was promised to be a delicious burger, The Haven just didn’t do it for me. I’ve eaten a wide range of cuisine in my day (still plenty out there to try) but Haggis was a new one. I’m not sure what I should have expected when I tried the Lambs’ heart, liver, and lungs, but even in croquette form, it was just off-putting to me. I’m aware this is a burger blog, but it has to be noted, whatever flavor was present in the Haggis that I found so off-putting, seemed to be in the burger as well. Or maybe my palette was just thrown off and couldn’t recover.  Could have been a combination of both, really, but I wasn’t the only one among the four diners who felt this way. The burger looks good on paper, a half-pound patty with decent juice and char, topped with a bacon and onion marmalade, and Huntsman cheese. (the Stilton element of the cheese was a bit too aggressive) All in all, it’s sized well, the bun plays a good complementary role, although the burger itself is much closer to medium-well than the requested medium-rare. But again, that flavor comes back to haunt me, something in that burger reminds me of something in that Haggis and I just can’t get past it. Hard to describe, it’s assertive, unfamiliar and mostly unpleasant. Trying it’s best to be a burger, it’s far too different for my seemingly delicate taste buds. Chips, or really thick pub fries if you will, are inconsistent. Some are fluffy and crispy, most are dry and soft, all are pretty under-seasoned, but a few splashes of salt and vinegar at the table quickly solves that problem.

It’s tough to be so hard on a place where the servers are a delight, there is passion up and down this quaint little spot in JP,  and everyone seems so happy. But it’s just not for me. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, food is so subjective, someone else may have a completely different experience and absolutely love the Scottish food served at The Haven, but in the world of Boston’s best burgers, this one doesn’t measure up.

Overall Score: 70

8 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    Huh. I’m not a burger connoisseur, but The Haven has the best burger in town, for my money. I also usually don’t eat fries, but the ones at The Haven are each like little works of art.

    It’s rich, though, and I can only ever finish half. The other half makes a nice lunch the next day.

  2. You surprised me with this review!

    The haggis: compared to haggis I’ve had in Scotland, The Haven adds some seasoning I could do without. I’m a purist. So I understand your feelings about this dish.

    The burger and fries, though? Maybe they had an off day. I’ve had the burger on numerous occasions and can never get enough. The fries have also been consistent in my experience: soft inside, crisp outside, perfectly seasoned.

    I vote you give the burger another try. The Haven is a quality place.

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  4. Marc L says:

    I have to say that there is absolutely no lungs in the Haven’s haggis. Now, I am not a haggis fan myself and do not hold it against you for disliking it as It is certainly not for everyone. Now the burger on the other hand, well I must insist that you give it another go. It is a phenomenal medley of flavors. Your tastes buds must have been thrown for quite a loop by the haggis app you had, surprising as you seem to be such a fine culinary connoisseur. Not to mention that being a private chef your taste buds must surely be stouter than that!
    The Haven is one of my favorite Boston restaurants and I think if you give it another go you may come around as well.

    • burger boy says:

      I know traditional Haggis often has lungs, but either way it probably did kill my taste buds, fair or not. But I think I had issues with the burger regardless, and I wasn’t the only one at the table who felt that way.

      • Marc L says:

        I urge you to use more caution in stating the ingredients of a restaurant’s food with out actual knowledge. In my eyes you have lost all credibility on your ratings.

        • burger boy says:

          So stop reading. As stated, traditional Haggis usually has lungs, it’s fine that this one doesn’t, either way I didn’t like the flavor. (lungs or not)

  5. Meeg Well says:

    First two time I had the burger, it was stupendous. Loved the bacon/onion marmalade, added a nice sweet and sour flavor I never had on a burger before without being overwhelming and tasting like a theme-park in my mouth as so many other overdone toppings do (should be noted that this bacon onion marmalade is how they serve the burger, no lettuce or tomato here). However, I was a little off put the last time I went (just last Wednesday). I had hyped it up to a bunch of my fellow burger-lovin’ friends and had them come meet me in my home turf of JP at the Haven. My biggest complaint: the bun. It was as if they missed when they cut all the buns in half. The top was just way too small on everyone’s burgers and they basically all fell apart in our hands. Other minor complaint, I felt the cheese was a little thick and overpowering on this go. However, when you boil it down to the essential ingredient, the meat, it is without doubt great. I’m really hoping this was just some weird, off night for the chef because I’ve been nothing but impressed otherwise and was eagerly waiting your review and to see how high my local joint would get on your list. Hopefully they read these reviews. I feel like the execution was a little off this night. With a few wicked simple tweaks, it would definitely hike up a notch.