The Libertine - lunch
I went to the Libertine about a month ago for drinks on a Saturday evening. The drinks were good, and the menu looked fantastic. I've been wanting to give the food a try ever since. I went for lunch today and was extremely disappointed.
We had a reservation for noon, arrived promptly, and were seated right away. Drinks orders were taken and delivered in a reasonable time period. And then the waiting began. We decided on our orders, and waited for our waiter. Waiter finally came and took our order, and then we waited for probably half an hour for our food to come out. The waiter came by once to apologize for the delay. She was not attentive to our drinks when they were empty. After the food arrived, we asked the reason for the delay. She simply explained that they had many tables, and many people arrived all at once. I don't think that is a sufficient explanation. If the kitchen can't keep up, they shouldn't seat so many people. I would prefer to hear that they can't take me at noon, and let me reserve for 11:30 or 12:30, or try again another day.
The food itself suffered from the delay. One of my companions had a burger that was overcooked and fries that sat long enough to get cold and greasy. My sandwich didn't taste as fresh as it should have, and I thought it odd that one slice of bread was toasted and the other slice wasn't. Another companion ordered the Salmugundi salad and had no complaints. Rounding out the table was the Mediterranean flatbread. Which I would have regarded as a poor menu choice at a place that focuses on meat, but given how mediocre to bad the sandwiches were, was probably not such a bad choice. I did not taste it, but the person who ordered it said it was fine but nothing special.
Anyway, I still think that their food and drinks look creative and well conceived. Perhaps I will try some other time. However, given my poor experience today, I will not rush back.
Note - Calgary is busy, as it is only a couple of days until the 100th Stampede begins. Perhaps that is an excuse. As I said before, I think the restaurant should manage the tables better instead of blaming the crowds.
No the stampede is not an excuse. We experienced the same thing a few months ago and it was maybe 70% full. Food on paper looked good but was very disappointed. It's more of a place you go to drink and be seen.
If you want creative inspired pub food, Pig and Duke is the best I've found so far. They even have a cicerone that chose their beers.