Liberty Tavern: Any suggestions?
I am meeting up with an old friend at Liberty Tavern next week. I must admit that I am a bit of a DC snob and don't venture out to Arlington too much...but I am looking forward to broadening my horizons!
Anything in particular that is a must try? I've heard the pizzas are really good...any other suggestions?
I just went for a friend's bday the other night. I had that octopus salad as it fits my wedding diet and it was really good.
The birthday girl had a ridiculously good pork chop, but the real favorite: it was served with mashed potatoes with sauerkraut and creme fresh. They were amazing. The sauerkraut did not taste processed, it almost tasted homemade (we make our own homemade for Thanksgiving) and with the creme fresh it was amazing. Really, really good.
The octopus salad was octopus, roasted clams, fennel, blood orange and pea shoots and mint. It wasn't terribly large probably about a 4" by 4" square. But the octopus was some of the best octopus I have had. I also had a slice of Fiance's pizza because he got my favorite one the Vermont. I haven't been eating huge portions lately because I am on my about 30 days to wedding diet so it was about enough for me with the small slice of pizza.
The environment is very neighborhood. The downstairs is pretty loud and is mostly a large bar with trendier/preppier people. They have a lounge area and tables. Upstairs you will see more families. Some tables are a little close, but not too bad. Not like firefly. And they are very nice about seating requests. The upstairs is light colored wood and high ceilings. Very neighborhoody. But in a nice way. It isn't too modern, but not kitche, just kind of clean comfortable. It is loud downstairs, upstairs it isn't as loud. Not near as bad as like Rasika or Zaytinya, but louder than like Zola. I would say medium loud to loud.
I want to resurrect this thread to report on a lunch there. I was very impressed. They clearly source their ingredients from high quality producers, and the chef has a good touch.
A friend and I shared a grilled octopus appetizer, followed by beef stroganoff and branzino entrees.
The octopus was perfect, with a nice char taste and a not-too-chewy, not-too-soft texture. It came over a salad of tiny spinach, shaved fennel, a few mint leaves and slivers of blood orange with a good vinaigrette. Not overdressed, the salad worked well with the octopus.
Too often beef stroganoff is simply rich and bland. Not the case here. A touch of mustard boosted the flavor and helped to counter the richness of the sour cream. It had slivers of wild mushrooms in it, judging by the texture. The delicious sauce clung to the egg noodles and so was not wasted.
The branzino was a fillet rather than a whole fish, which I would have preferred. I don't know whether the dish at night (at a higher price) is a whole fish. It might be criticized by some as being overcooked. However, it was exactly as I have eaten it in Italy, where medium rare fish isn't all that popular in my experience. Although well cooked it was not at all dry and had a light char taste, with nice, edible skin. It came over spinach spaetzle and pea shoots, with a smoked pepper sauce underneath and a slice of house-smoked bacon on top. I generally like food prepared simply without a jumble of ingredients. However, in this case, I really liked the combination. Each of the elements were simple, and they were separate enough that the taste of each was clear.
Decent wines by the glass at very acceptable prices.
All in all, an excellent meal. I'm glad we're getting such places in Arlington. So much easier on the carbon footprint to eat well.
Reporting back from Liberty Tavern...
Everything was great. I followed the recommendations and had the watercress salad with the egg on top...delicious!
My friend and I split the Vermont pizza with cheddar, apples, prosciutto, and sage...again, a winner. We also enjoyed good wine.
We had great service and the ambiance was casual and welcoming. I will definitely be returning.
Thanks all for your recommendations!
I love Liberty Tavern, it's on my usual rotation. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there is one dish I like so much I always order it, so I don't have many varied suggestions. But I love the roast chicken with brocolini and mashed potatoes and lemon jus. The flavors all just really come together beautifully, the jus in particular is amazing and the mashed potatoes are the closest to homemade I've had in a restaurant (but they are not butter and cream heavy, infused with cheese/exotic oils, just normal, good old potatoes). In spite of my limited horizons I also recall a friend raving about the skirt (flank?) steak, it did look delicious. I also like their selection of half bottles of wine, I can't recall exactly but I believe I loved a 1/2 bottle of a Rioja and possibly a sangiovese. Have fun!
i have been there once and the food was very, very good. i had the lamb oriechette — i'm not much of a lamb person — and i LOVED it. also had watercress salad which was delicious, it had watercress (duh), frisee, red peppers, chilled potatoes and some tangy creamy dressing (peppercorn?) btu the best part was that it came with an egg on top and when i cut into the egg the creamy yolk dressed the salad....oh it was so good. can you tell? hahaha. have fun!