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Aug 1, 2014 05:51 AM

Liquid Art House

Didn't see a dedicated thread for Liquid Art House, so I thought I'd start one. Went last night with my wife. It is a stunning space, with large art pieces around (all for sale!) the restaurant. We had hoped Dan (ex-Hawthorne) would be behind the bar, and we'd sit there, but he wasn't working, and the bar was crowded (at 6:45), so we took a table. The tables never completely filled all night. Drinks were stellar, I had the Street Art cocktail, and my wife had a scotch concoction. Drink prices were high, only one that I saw at $12, many were $14-16.

Food prices are uniformly high. I had a small piece of duck confit (3 inches square, and 1/3 inch thick)($17) with a small micro green salad that had three garbanzo beans under blue cheese and micro greens. My wife had the app portion of the cheese dumplings ($17) which were excellent, though there were only 6 tater tot sized dumplings with cheese and accompaniments.

For entrees my wife had the rotisserie half chicken ($25) and a side of pureed potatoes ($8) as the chicken came only with a small salad. I had the black bass with clams, turnips, and something else ($35). It was a relatively small piece of fish, and most problematic was that I got a healthy portion of the blood line which I removed (way too fishy for me), and something I expect not to be served when I'm paying $35 for the dish.

Dessert was some sort of amalgamation of blackberries and chocolate ($16), with many different textures and such on the plate, but which never really came together as a cohesive whole. My wife had 2 glasses of rose, and I a glass of red ($15 each), and I had coffee (OK), and she had a cappuccino. There was some confusion in the staff as they wanted to give each of us a free glass of dessert wine for some delay in service that we never noticed or complained about. However, a server we hadn't seen all night just came by with 2 small glasses explaining that they didn't have a certain dessert wine, so he was bringing us a different one. We explained we hadn't ordered any dessert wine, only to have a different server return it to us to say it was on the house for the aforementioned, never noticed service lapse. All in all, we enjoyed most of the food, and the cocktails and space are top-notch, but the prices were too much, especially considering the serving sizes (and I don't have a huge problem with smaller portion sizes, generally). With tip it was $250, not a good value for what we had. I would like to try the more reasonably priced bar menu, but won't be rushing back. Unless they drop their prices, I don't see this place surviving too long, especially with so few tables filled on a Thursday night.

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  1. $25 for a HALF chicken? Def out of my league.But thx much for the detailed report.

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      It's not just any chicken, but chicken that lived on a diet of scraps from Per Se. I am not making this up.

    2. We went for drinks and loved it - had been planning to stay for dinner but saw the prices and thought it wouldn't be worth it. Glad to hear we would've left hungry either way!

      1. My SO and I went for dinner last night (Sunday) at around 6:00PM and the restaurant was very empty. As previously noted, it is a very large space decorated with a wide variety of art. Along with the regular menu and the wine list they also give you and "art menu" that shows where each piece is located and the prices. Theyt have some very interesting pieces ranging from a few hundred dollars to $50,000!

        We were very pleased with our food, the service and the atmosphere but it would have been better if the place was busier and more was going on.

        I started with what was called the Liquid Art House Caparinha which our server told varies a bit from a traditional caparinha. I was served a watermelon caparinha which was excellent. It was light and refreshing but still very potent. Very nice summer drink. I also had a glass of a very nice Albarino with dinner.

        To start we had a small order of the Wild Mushroom Dumpling. They were four of them and they were very good. They were served with a small amount of a thick cream sauce flavored with Porcini mushroom and topped with fried shreds of Porcini's.

        My SO chose the scallops and I chose the Striped Bass. The presentation of both dishes was very nice. The scallops were perfectly cooked and served on small mounds of a cauliflower puree and surrounded with an assortment of baby vegetables. My Striped Bass was served with 6 steamed Little Necks, broccoli rabe, wild mushrooms and a few baby turnips. When the dish was served they poured on a small amount of a delicious Buerre Blanc sauce which really went well with all the other ingredients.

        I have read other reviews on CH and Yelp and some people complained that the portion sizes were small and the prices high. No argument that LAH is a high-end restaurant with most entrees in the mid $30.00 range but we both found the portions to be adequate and in fact skipped dessert because we were quite full.

        Overall we thoroughly enjoyed LAH and will definitely go back. The next time we will go later in the evening on Fri or Sat night so there might be more of a "buzz" to the place. We recently had back-to-back mediocre dining experiences at Mistral and Scampo (two of our long time favorites) and are definitely not in any hurry to return soon but we are looking forward to a return visit to LAH.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RoyRon

          Great to hear you liked the food and drinks so much.I guess that ever since I first saw mention of LAH, it struck me that it was a real NYC concept and would not fly here.

          1. re: RoyRon

            I didn't have a huge issue with the serving size of my bass (though it was slightly smaller than I've had in other establishments), just that it had a huge blood line in it, again, something I don't expect when I'm paying $35 for an fish entree. The Buerre Blanc sauce was truly amazing, though. I can't imagine being full after having 2 dumplings and that fish dish, however, glad you did!

          2. There is some amazing plastic surgery on that website

            1. Visited Tuesday 11/5. The space is more impressive than the photographs convey. The high ceilings in the central room/bar lend an air of grandeur that's amplified by the gorgeous glass (Murano) chandelier. The stone-faced columns have been restored and look fabulous. Whether the art (that rotates) resonates with you or not, there's no denying it's space that is meant for displaying art. The dining room has lower ceilings and a more intimate feel, and the light fixtures (also Murano?) echo the pieces of the larger chandelier.

              The highlights of the evening had to be the dumplings. The tart cherry/foie gras dumplings are amazing. Though I agree with other Hounds that the prices seem a bit dear, they (cherry/foie gras) are in a class with the prune gnocchi at No. 9 Park. I also loved the beautiful piece of Faroe Islands salmon with crisp skin but medium-rare flesh that also garnered praise from a DC. A trio of sorbets ranged from coconut that lacked conviction to a delicious (but wholly conventional) fruit, and a carrot-ginger that stole the show (and woke up any snoozing tastebuds).

              Rachel Klein stopped by the table and was funny and gracious. After dinner (and service was winding down) we got an invitation to visit the kitchen. One of the line cooks (Carolina?) gave us a tour. The impressive rotisserie had been broken down already - it would be fun to see it loaded in action. Had a nice chat with her and the pastry chef. Their enthusiasm and affection for the place was infectious.

              Interesting that despite the ambitious menu prices, the wine list included more than a handful of bottles at very reasonable tariffs - e.g. an Argyle pinot for $45 - very reasonable. Didn't have a chance to try any of the cocktails, but I look forward to a return visit to sit at the bar.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MaxEntropy

                Nice review! I'm a fan, reviewed it a few weeks back for The Improper, despite the tall prices. Definitely worth a visit to that stunning-looking bar for cocktails: a rare serious program in the Back Bay.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Many thanks, MC. I missed your review prior to going, and largely concur. Hard to imagine that we both had the same coconut desert, though. I'm working on rounding up enough carnivore friends to justify the duck or suckling pig off the rotisserie.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I just read your review and am in complete agreement. We've been back several times since our first visit shortly after they opened and have not been disappointed. No argument that the prices are high at LAH but we've found that overall the restaurant delivers what one would expect at those price points.