Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Liberty Tavern

Gonna try to be more regular with food postings...even if they end up fragmented or incomplete or not neatly packaged.

On a beautiful Sunday evening, we ended up in Clarendon around dinnertime. Hoping to try Eventide, we found it shuttered for Sunday dinner and opted for Liberty Tavern. The result? A generally mixed experience.

Most notably, service was pretty lacking. Sat at a four top upstairs for about fifteen minutes before anyone acknowledged us. Waiter reported one special for the night and couldn't spit it out without looking at his cheat sheet after mentioning each component. We requested a dessert menu so one person at the table could decide if she wanted to save her appetite for a starter or dessert. Getting that menu took about five minutes. These little things added up to a less than stellar service experience.

SVR's rum drink did not taste good. Very, very sweet. Tasted a bit like chlorine and bottled Margarita mix. Never mind that the $9 drink came to the table in a glass only about 2/3 of the way full. Seemed an awful value (decided before tasting how unpleasant it was) and I mentioned the paltry pour to the waiter. He assured me it wouldn't taste good if there was more in the glass. What?! Does the greater liquid surface area interact with the air to make the already bad drink taste worse? Very odd.

Bread basket was really solid. The meal's highlight??

I had some shortribs to start. The meat was very pleasant. The savory sauce and bread made for a nice, gooey, sloppy, rich bite. The heavy meat was paired with some fruit and sauce I imagine was meant to cut the meat's richness. The accompaniment was melon and a melon sauce. It tasted of simple syrup or Karo syrup. Painful in the mouth kinda sweet. Too bad, as the meat was very good.

I had skate for a main. Pan fried nicely. Tender fish. Sides (though Spaetzle and potato seemed a little heavy for a summer evening) worked well. Again, though, the sauce (raspberry this time?) tasted like candy. It was sweeter than I tend to prefer dessert. Very odd.

Sooooo...I really wanted to like Liberty Tavern. I thought the menu looked thoughtfully composed and smartly balanced. Service and a really heavy hand with, of all things, sugar left me feeling disappointed. For what we paid (about $60/person), I wanted something a bit better.


Darren said...

60/person that is unreal for that kind of place.. Thanks for the review.

layzeesusan said...


In fairness, we drink like cyclocross racers (read: a lot). To put it in perspective, the $240 (post tax and tip) was for:

3 starters
4 mains
2 glasses of wine
2 mixed drinks
1 beer
1 bottle of wine

But I agree. It was a bit pricey for how satisfied we ended up.

Anonymous said...

the Hemmingway Daquiri is a classic
the luxardo cherry liquor if overused
can sweeten up the cocktail too much
though. Most martinis are supposed to be sipped
and come in various sizes but should usually be

3-8 oz if the martini glass is a 10 oz glass
well then it doesn't look like alot in the glass
you are not paying for the Martini..... You are paying for
electric bills, host salaries, vent cleaning etc.

layzeesusan said...


Understood. Thanks. We did have high hopes for that daiquiri.

As for quantity...the glass was under-filled. It was clearly so.

Rodger on the costs. I understand that we pay for more than just product costs at a restaurant. But that doesn't excuse items that are over-priced, under-served, and taste terrible.

Next up for review (and a nice counterpoint to Liberty Tavern): Blue Ridge. We've had some really great meals there lately.

James said...

Who did you dine with? How was the muscle sauce?