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Liberty Tree, Atlas District - Chef Graig Glufling Pioneered the Miniburger at Matchbox

H Street Corridor Atlas DIstrict American Open 7 Days Scot Hamilton

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#1 susanmab

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:15 PM

(Search returned nothing and I don't recall seeing a thread, so here goes)

I had a lovely dinner (with a large group, none the less) at the new Liberty Tree last night. Pizza and small plates on H street, I believe they've been open a whole two weeks or so now.

It feel strange to tout the virtues of a salad, but the "rare tuna" was pretty wicked. Spinach, Kalamata, white beans, topped with seared tuna with some pine nuts. Seriously, best salad in a while. And the salads come in two sizes, thank you very much (I hate not knowing if it's going to be huge or small...at least with two sizes you can have some idea if you're ordering as a starter versus a main). Margherita pizza with prosciutto, also pretty darned yummy. I snuck a bite of the bread pudding (didn't leave room for more than that) and it was seriously good.

The kicker? Noticeably affordable. Our bill came and my friend and I had to laugh because her two bottles of Lambic ($12 each, which I think seems pretty normal since they're at TJ's for $10) came to a full half of our dinner check.

I'm excited, this place is good. I think it's going to be crowded when word gets out.



#2 youngfood

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 02:32 PM

(Search returned nothing and I don't recall seeing a thread, so here goes)
...I'm excited, this place is good. I think it's going to be crowded when word gets out.

Thanks for starting this thread. I've been a few times and am a big fan, as I think it's clearly the nicest spot on H St thus far. The chef is the guy who opened the original matchbox, so his pizzas -- especially the clams casino (clams, bacon, spinach) -- are good, with thin crust and a nice char on them. The lobster roll is our other favorite thus far. Prices are very reasonable, most pizzas around $10 a piece for ~6 pieces (ie, nearly enough for 2 people to call dinner after a salad or an app). They are relatively small inside, but adding a bigger outdoor patio alongside the restaurant soon.

Address: 1016 H Street NE
Website: http://libertytreedc.com/
Favorable early blog reviews

#3 Banco

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 09:25 AM

We had a pleasant dinner here last night with a just a few opening-week glitches. The space is delightful and is a welcome, somewhat higher-end addition to the gastro-pubs that seem to have dominated the H street development so far. Drinks took quite a while to arrive, and my martini had olives instead of the requested twist, but was otherwise very well made. The pizza arrived lukewarm, and the crust needs work: too flat and crackery, reminiscent of frozen pizza, but the toppings were nice. I suspect they need to try a different flour and crank up the oven a bit.The highlight actually was the salads, which were very fresh and well made with a good balance of flavors and garnishes. The seared tuna salad was beautifully done and a bargain, though I can't remember the exact price right now. My son loved his lobster roll, which I didn't try but it looked great to me as well. the wine and beer list is worth exploring. We will definitely be back to support this welcome addition to the H street scene.

#4 pidgey

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 11:47 AM

An enjoyable meal last night, but it was obvious that they are still working out their service glitches. Our waiter was harried, but then again he did have all 6 tables in the section (and one of the tables had about 6 people). The food was delicious (white bean dip, house salad with a pleasantly tart vinaigrette, slighty small lobster roll, and linguine with white clam sauce), and came out lickety split, and we would have been out of there in less than an hour if we didn't have to wait 20 minutes to ask the waiter to bring our check. I liked the camraderie amongst the rest of the staff--the hostess refilled our tea and water, the food runner may have actually been a manager as he ended up taking the order of the table next to us. Business was good, although there never seemed to be anyone waiting for a table (actually, being able to sit at the bar there seems to help them), and when we left, there were plenty of tables open. This place is very tiny, and we were in the least accessible two-top on our side of the restaurant, which meant that the servers had to keep handing food over the tables next to us and behind us. Also, I noticed that there wasn't a baby changing table in the women's room (my husband said he didn't notice if there was one in the men's room, which probably means there wasn't one in there as well). I'm pretty sure I saw some folks doing takeout, which may be our option when our Baby Pidgey is born this summer.

#5 Keithstg

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 08:52 AM

We went to Liberty Tree on Friday evening for an early meal. Pidgey is right - the place is small, although the bar area (in front of an open kitchen) does provide some space for overflow. We were greeted warmly and seated immediately - at 5:45 we were one of two tables occupied, but when we left around 7:15 all tables were filled. We began with an order of the potato croquettes and the calamari. Both were excellent "bar food" - the latter were a big hit with our 21mo old. For mains, I had the cod entree, which was a very generous filet for $14. Our son had a pizza, which he enjoyed, and my wife had the lobster and scallop pot pie, which she enjoyed. I was able to steal a bite of the pot pie- and it was excellent. Just creamy enough, texture wise, but full of Lobster and Scallop flavor.

Our service was very friendly, although they are clearly still working out the kinks. Wines available are ok, but all priced at $8/glass $30/btl. I found the beer selection more varied. All in all, we really liked Liberty Tree, and look forward to having them in the neighborhood!

- Also, I was told that changing tables are forthcoming, and they definitely do takeout (no delivery - fingers crossed!).

#6 leleboo

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 07:39 PM

So ol_ironstomach and I bellied up to the bar tonight at Liberty Tree and I would say it was well worth the effort.

Let me clarify effort. Dave had to brave the very not-free Southeast Freeway. I chose to bike there, which would have been an excellent idea had my bike not been low on air in the tires. (Amazingly, I made it home intact, with leftovers!)

We sampled our way through the menu, which really yielded some gems, especially at the prices listed. The wood-oven roasted olives were just what both of us needed to start off the night: garlicky, full of rosemary, and served with an acceptable if slightly underwhelming sliced baguette for dipping in the accompanying olive oil. Ditto the oven-roasted clams, which necessitated much more bread for sopping of drinkably-good sauce. The goat-cheese stuffed peppadews were a perfect bar bite (I should make and keep a bunch of these in my fridge for preprandial snacking), and Chef G told us all about the provenance of the linguica used in the "pigs in blankets," which I'm fairly certain both of us are going to research and possibly post here as an option for sausage acquisition.

I then had a small portion of the pine-nut crusted rare tuna salad that a few people have already lauded here; at $6 for a small and $9 for a large, this is a wonder of a dish, and everyone should rush and get it right this instant, to be frank. The pine nut crust essentially just added an umami element to the tuna, and while my portion was under-friséed, it had a lot of spinach and chunky olive tapenade, and was downright delicious. There are also parmesan-dusted onion straws on the small bites menu now. Whether this is a nod or a challenge to Chef G's history at Matchbox, I can't say, but while these straws are slightly thicker-cut than that other institution's, they are also slightly less salty (which I appreciate) and carry the onion flavor through. I brought most of the order home, where I am sure they will crisp up nicely reheated in the toaster oven, and I'm anxious for the moment I get to eat them again.

The wine list needs work, although for $8 the pours are ginormous. The wine choice and the pizza -- strangely enough -- were probably the weakest links of the night, and I'll let Dave speak to the pizza if he so desires.

Funnily enough, I had contemplated emailing a friend of mine (from highschool) who lives on H Street to join us, and hadn't; lo and behold, a voice over my shoulder said, "Leigh?" and she was there! Even more "the world is too small," when she went to sit down, her husband came over; turns out he and Dave know each other.

I will definitely return to Liberty Tree; the space is tiny but adorable; service outgoing, friendly, and knowledgeable; and honestly, the spot is the epitome of the "neighborhood place" we city-dwellers, if I may speak for a ridiculously large and hetergeneous group, hope to find. I wish them well.

"He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea." ~THHGTTG
"Are you from the future? Do they still have sandwiches there?" ~Montgomery Scott, Star Trek
------
Leigh


#7 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:06 PM

I think Leigh summed it up pretty well. I didn't sample the entree section of the menu, but one could make an assemblage of small plates from the left-hand page and be very satisfied. Last night's standouts for me were the terrific roasted clams (you'll want extra bread for sopping up), and the baked olives. I really appreciate that most of the salads are available in two sizes, which makes it really easy to decide to insert a green course...it would be nice if more restaurants offered small salads option beyond their most basic version. I'm not a fan of the bar pizza genre, but you'll find theirs to be on target if you are, with a thin, crackery crust and a smooth, pasty tomato sauce.

The space seems incredibly small. Hopefully they'll be able to get enough turns in, because it's really almost too appealing right now to linger and nibble.

Chef Glufling is not only a J&W grad, but also spent a number of years cooking around Cape Cod, which probably explains his deft hand with shellfish. (Inexplicably, he's also quite personable too, for someone who doesn't get a night off). I can't wait to check out the lobster roll next time...he says he's a traditionalist when it comes to this New England classic, so I'm hopeful that DC has gained a credible example.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#8 DaRiv18

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:53 PM

Our family also there last night--small world! We sat at a table which was incredibly tight; our waiter has to work cramped quarters to make it to our table. We ordered the brussel sprouts with bacon in vinegarette, pigs-in-a-blanket, large tuna salad, and a pizza (chopped clams, bacon, spinach, garlic, parm). Baby started rubbing her eyes, so we ordered an apple/blueberry crisp to go. With a beer, it all came to a reasonable $55 including tax/tip.

We were happy with our meal but not wowed. But value-wise, definitely worth a trip. Service was friendly, and the entire place had a real neighborhood vibe to it. I did like the tuna salad, it was light and tasty, although the white beans were still a bit crunchy in the middle. The pizza was good, the dessert good, the pigs in a blanket good (liked the sausage, the puff pastry was not so puffy).

I am thrilled that this restaurant is in my neighborhood. I feel like I would lose credibility if I recommended someone to go out of their way to eat here, though, so far. Maybe we'll try the dishes you had. I did notice that they use the same ingredients in alot of different dishes--you almost have to make an effort not to order a meal with white beans in it. Nothing wrong with that, just struck me.

I chose to bike there, which would have been an excellent idea had my bike not been low on air in the tires. (Amazingly, I made it home intact, with leftovers!)

On our walk home, two guys were biking down H Street. Apparently it was something of a race, and one was a good city block in front of the other. The guy lagging behind was on a ten speed, and as he almost passed us, his thin tires crossed over on the streetcar tracks that they are laying down. His front tire got caught in the track, and he flipped over his bike and really banged himself up. Thankfully, he was okay, but be careful biking near those tracks.

"All martinis taste good but do not promote fine distinctions in taste or other areas of intellectual discrimination." Raymond Sokolov, How to Cook


#9 leleboo

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:58 PM

I did notice that they use the same ingredients in alot of different dishes--you almost have to make an effort not to order a meal with white beans in it. Nothing wrong with that, just struck me.

I actually thought they balanced ingredient re-use well. Any small kitchen will want to use an ingredient in multiple dishes of possible; I didn't think most re-used ingredients were too egregious (although I might agree that the white beans show up more than anything else, so maybe they are the one ingredient that needs to be scaled back).

On our walk home, two guys were biking down H Street. Apparently it was something of a race, and one was a good city block in front of the other. The guy lagging behind was on a ten speed, and as he almost passed us, his thin tires crossed over on the streetcar tracks that they are laying down. His front tire got caught in the track, and he flipped over his bike and really banged himself up. Thankfully, he was okay, but be careful biking near those tracks.

Thanks for the tip! From there I don't go down H, but rather south, but still, good to know. ;)

"He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea." ~THHGTTG
"Are you from the future? Do they still have sandwiches there?" ~Montgomery Scott, Star Trek
------
Leigh


#10 youngfood

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:56 PM

Has anyone else tried the lobster roll yet? I think that might be the most noteworthy thing I've had in a series of very enjoyable visits here. I've been disappointed by loster dishes at so many restaurants and have had bad loster rolls in Maine, but the two times I've had it here have both been great, simple, fresh, not overcooked, and mostly lobster meat.

This is a great neighborhood spot. It's going to be even better when they open up the patio, which will seat more people than the restaurant does, but they've got some work and permitting to do before that happens.

#11 GennaroE

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 10:15 PM

After sneaking in for the Co-op shift at DC Central Kitchen tonight, I joined up with a few fellow volunteers who were headed over to the Atlas District for dinner at Granville Moore's. Upon arriving, we were faced with a 1 hour wait time, and quickly decided to head down to Liberty Tree instead. The wait there was about 30 minutes anyway, but it was worth it in the end, and I'm glad to see that they're doing so well, even if it meant having to hold out another half hour for food.

We composed a meal of all small plates and appetizers. While it was solid -- not stellar -- there were some particular highlights, and I'm eager to return for a chance to sample the rest of the menu, especially that lobster roll.

The Pigs in a Blanket that leleboo mentioned are an irresistible combination of juicy Linguica sausage and buttery, flaky pastry dough; I could have easily eaten an order or two on my own. The onion strings, topped with grated pecorino, are equally addictive: served in a huge portion, perfectly crisped, and not all that greasy, I found my hand gravitating toward them in between trying each of the other dishes. The peppadews, with their simple combination of sweet pepper and super creamy goat cheese, were also great, but at a dollar a pop, they seemed slightly overpriced. $5 for 3 small Potato Fritters was also a bit steep, and hard to explain when compared to an $8 portion of Fried Calamari that overflowed from the large bowl set before a nearby party. And while those fritters were fried perfectly, they were slightly bland, failing to deliver the flavors promised by the menu: bacon and pecorino. The Brussel Sprouts, served cold, with bacon and balsamic reduction, also failed to take full advantage of these sure-fire flavors : the balsamic was hardly present, and the bacon was integrated only in the form of chewy, bacon bit like chunks. The olives that leleboo noted, and the Brick Oven Roasted Little Neck Clams, rounded out our order; the former were delicious in moderation, though their saltiness easily overrode any other flavors (garlic, herbs, etc.) present; and the latter was desirable more so for that delicious sauce of white wine, butter, and clam juice that filled the plate than the clams themselves, which quickly became an afterthought.

Overall, Liberty Tree's prices are more than reasonable, and it seem like there's a lot on the menu worth exploring. I'm looking forward to seeing what Chef Glufling can do when it comes to larger plates, where he's working with more components and more flavors. My only gripe at the moment is that some of the items on the menu don't seem appropriately priced in relation to each other, but that won't stop me from coming back.

#12 New Foodie

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:13 PM

I'll add on to the praise coming so far for Liberty Tree. No, it wasn't necessarily the best meal I've had in the last few months, but for the price point, it really is quite good. We arrived around 6:30 on Friday night and were lucky to grab a table before the bar started to fill up with those waiting. Our waitress was very nice but seemed a little harried and was a bit slow at times, although we were so engrossed with conversation we didn't really mind.

Every wine on the list is $8 for a glass or $30 for a bottle and covers all the normal varietals. The beer by the bottle list is maybe 20 or so long, and there are 4 beers on draft. We had the savignon blanc (which I think I've bought before at Schneider's), but it was good. The +1 and I split the Stuffed peppadew peppers with goat cheese ($4) and really liked them. At first I was thinking it was a bit much for $1 a pepper, but then I realized it was a large amount of goat cheese and some really tasty peppers, and at most other restaurants in DC something similar would be upwards of $7-8. I'd definitely order again. Our other friends got Seared Scallops (Shaved fennel salad, dried cranberries, orange vinaigrette - $8) which was two scallops on a small fennel salad. I didn't get to try a bite, but they cleaned the plate.

I had the Traditional New England Lobster Roll (Celery, mayo, griddled hot dog bun, garlic butter drizzle - Market price which was $14). It's not a huge sandwich, but was a good amount of meat, and the griddled bun was so tasty. The celery also gave it a nice crunch, and it wasn't overdressed with mayo. They also let me sub a small house salad for the fries which was awesome. The +1 had the Knife and Fork Meatball Grinder (Housemade spicy meatballs, tomato sauce, provolone - $9) which was a pretty large sandwich with I think 4 good-sized meatballs. It could've used a little more seasoning or spice, but he seemed to like it. While they tasted ok, the fries were a bit limp. One friend had the Maple Glazed Grilled Boneless Pork Loin (Braised cabbage, fuji apples, bacon lardons, apple cider reduction - $15) and I would be inclined to order this on a future visit. It's a good portion size without being overwhelming, and the compote of apples, bacon and cabbage were a great compliment. The fourth person had Linguine with White Clam Sauce (Garlic, shallots, herbs, white wine butter - $14) which was a huge bowl of pasta. She wanted a few more clams but loved how garlicky it was (don't order this on a first date!). One drawback is that this dish should definitely be served with bread. She asked for some, and ended up getting it, but the waitress said she would be charged extra. It was worth it to be able to sop up the leftover garlic, wine, oil juice at the bottom of the bowl, but it should just be served with the dish in the first place.

The pizzas we saw at other tables looked good, but definitely a very thin crust. Although the chef is from Matchbox originally, the pizzas don't look quite like Matchbox. The pigs in a blanket we saw go by also looked tasty. It's a fairly small dining room that seems like it will fill up quickly, but the bar is a decent size to allow for a pleasant wait. One other suggestion we would have is to serve bread before dinner. It would've been good with the apps and some of the entrees and it would've been nice before we ordered. In the end we'll definitely be back...hopefully sooner than later.

-Jenny

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, Garfield"


#13 leleboo

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:52 PM

Dinner at the bar made up for my really long day of conference calls. The olives come with toasted/warmed bread now -- a vast improvement -- and the Roasted Cod, crispy fingerling potatoes, shallots, spinach, white wine lemon cream ($14) is a significant portion (mentioned in an earlier post) and excellent, with crispy skin, perfectly flaky fish, and delicious oniony spinach with bites of potato, all surrounded by a smear of sauce that is just enough to tie everything together. I still wish the wines were a little more interesting (sorry, Chef) but honestly, I could not have asked for a better way to end what was a seemingly interminable day.

"He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea." ~THHGTTG
"Are you from the future? Do they still have sandwiches there?" ~Montgomery Scott, Star Trek
------
Leigh


#14 New Foodie

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:35 PM

Ended up back at Liberty Tree tonight and really enjoyed everything once again. We ate at the bar but were a little surprised that there always seemed to be a table or two available in the main dining area and the bar never got packed. I expected more of a crowd on a Friday night (but am secretly happy it's not too crowded so I can continue to go there without having to wait!)

My friend and I split the Pigs in a Blanket ($7 Linguica, puff pastry, sweet and spicy mustard), Fried Calamari ($8 Hot cherry pepper butter, balsamic vinegar reduction) and Cape Cod Casino Pizza ($10 Chopped clams, roasted garlic, bacon, spinach, herb butter, parmesan). It was way too much food, but we still polished it off (erp).The pigs app includes two 4-5 inch sausages wrapped in puff pastry and baked. The mustard is a good accompaniment to the Linguica, and the pigs are surprisingly not greasy at all. As mentioned above, the calamari is a ridiculously large portion (surely enough for a table of 4 to share as an app). It's very lightly fried and well-seasoned. I don't really remember seeming any reduced balsamic on our plate, but the hot cherry butter is amazing. Might be my new favorite calamari dipper. We should've stopped eating at this point, but then the pizza arrived. It is a thin crust, but had some good blistering and wasn't so thin to be cracker-like. The scent of garlic and bacon was quite enticing. Yum.

The best part was the price! Even with an $8 glass of wine, the bill total with tax and tip was something like $44 for the two of us, and as I mentioned it was more than enough food.

Next time maybe I'll get around to trying a salad and some more of the entrees. A burger we noticed on the way out looked tasty too.

-Jenny

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, Garfield"


#15 Ohitzig

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:47 PM

Okay place, could have been a lot better with little tweaks. A lot of sauces seemed to be very industrial, cloying, and with out much merit. Unfortunately, my seared tuna salad was over dressed, lettuce was old (spinach was turning yellow), and the tuna was obviously seared long ahead of time. For such as size of a restaurant, and dining on a Sunday, I would think some things would be done more to order.

Seating is very cramped, witnessing a couple stand up so another table could squeeze by them to their table. Generally, for the price point, a so so restaurant that could be a lot better, but with H street the way it is, there is not much competition barring one or two places.

#16 DaRiv18

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:02 PM

but with H street the way it is, there is not much competition barring one or two places.

I don't vehemently disagree with this assessment, but think there are 3 or 4 places where I'd just as soon go to on H Street. I do disagree, sitting here today, that LT is the "best bet" to eat on H Street, per the Dining Guide. There are both safer comfort places to eat and more adventurous, niche spots.

"All martinis taste good but do not promote fine distinctions in taste or other areas of intellectual discrimination." Raymond Sokolov, How to Cook


#17 Ohitzig

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:14 PM

I don't vehemently disagree with this assessment, but think there are 3 or 4 places where I'd just as soon go to on H Street. I do disagree, sitting here today, that LT is the "best bet" to eat on H Street, per the Dining Guide. There are both safer comfort places to eat and more adventurous, niche spots.

Please understand, by no means am I giving this place a good, going back to tomorrow review. But, let's face facts, the construction on H street and the years of neglect in the neighborhood have not made this a go to neighborhood, much to my dismay. There needs to be better restaurants and less bars masquerading as restaurants. I do like other places on the street for what they are, but would also like more decent places, and that will not happen until the neighborhood is not happy with the status quo.

#18 doubleg

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:33 AM

Okay place, could have been a lot better with little tweaks. A lot of sauces seemed to be very industrial, cloying, and with out much merit. Unfortunately, my seared tuna salad was over dressed, lettuce was old (spinach was turning yellow), and the tuna was obviously seared long ahead of time. For such as size of a restaurant, and dining on a Sunday, I would think some things would be done more to order.

Seating is very cramped, witnessing a couple stand up so another table could squeeze by them to their table. Generally, for the price point, a so so restaurant that could be a lot better, but with H street the way it is, there is not much competition barring one or two places.

in reference to things being done to order. The tuna is never precooked and nothing is precooked here. for a small restaurant that would not make sense so you are mistaken in that assumption. all sauces are made in house so i do not know what you are refering to about industrial etc. i apoligize if the salad was overdressed. i was the one who made the salad and i try to pick through the spinach to get any turning pieces out if there are any. There has been a problem in the spincah market with yellow leaves coming through. i cannot control mothe nature but i do try to make the best possible food in a small restaurant. Next time if you are not happy with something please speak up so the problem can be fixed while you are still in the restaurant and we can make your experience more positive.
thanks,
Graig

#19 mame11

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:41 AM

The scallop appetizer last night was really good. I loved the corn and sausage base on which two deliciously seared scallops rested. It was a rich and decadent dish that made me think about Maine in the summer. Though an appetizer, it was filling and enough (for me) for dinner.

However, two other issues marred what would have been a great write up of the restaurant. I also ordered an iceberg wedge salad that sounded delicious. Instead of bacon avocado accompanied the lettuce and tomato. I like avocado as much as bacon and was excited about the salad. I ordered the salad with dressing on the side.

The scallops and salad arrived at the same time! Really? I had not ordered a main course yet so I was surprised that they paced the dishes in that way without asking if I wanted them at the same time.

Because the scallops were warm I dug in to the dish and set the salad aside. No big deal really since the salad would be fine.

Yum.

I turned to the salad and was extremely disappointed. The avocado was not ripe! Maybe it's me but I find rock hard avocado unappetizing. The tomatoes on the other hand were overripe and the whole salad was swimming in oil, even though the dressing was served on the side.

The server came by and I asked for the check even though I had toyed with the idea of ordering something else. She asked if everything was okay. I told her no the salad was off. She didn't ask why. I mentioned the oil because I had asked for the dressing on the side. She said that the kitchen might have added too much. sigh. If dressing is asked for on the side it seems the kitchen shouldn't use oil. at all. (in the 20 years I've been asking for dressing on the side I've never had oil used on a salad so either I've been lucky or I am right).

without asking if she can redo the salad she left and got me the check. I paid and tipped on the whole bill because I thought the scallops alone were worth the price.

#20 DaRiv18

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:06 PM

I am thrilled that this restaurant is in my neighborhood. I feel like I would lose credibility if I recommended someone to go out of their way to eat here, though, so far.

Happily, I'll back off this statement. The lobster roll ($15, including fries) was a terrific sandwich which lets the lobster do most of the work in a simple mayo with celery. I had tried my first lobster roll just the other week at Bobby's Crabcakes -- I do prefer Bobby's if money was no object, but at $26 a platter, no way is it $11 better than Liberty Tree's. The scallop appetizer ($9) was really good as well, in a creamy sauce, roasted corn, onions, and sausage. I've visited two other times, and beside a tuna salad and a clam pizza, this was the first seafood I'd tried on the menu. By far I enjoyed this meal more than the others (and I didn't dislike the others), and will either try the cod next time or do the lobster again.

From the bar, you can look back into the open kitchen, and see that it takes up about half the building's square footage. Granted there is a big pizza oven, but each station seemed to be fairly roomy . . . much roomier than at the dining tables. Most of these H Street restaurants have tiny kitchens in comparison. Perhaps they've removed tables from the floor since I've visited, but the big kitchen does come at the expense of a comfortable floor. There are a couple of tables that look nice, but I'll target the bar most of the time. Obviously, I understand why there are so many tables.

I wish them success, and hopefully they can soon expand into an adjacent building. With the quality of the seafood I enjoyed, at the value I paid, I bet they would rock it out with little problem. Easier said than done, but in the meantime I stop by more often.

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#21 youngfood

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:14 PM

I wish them success, and hopefully they can soon expand into an adjacent building. With the quality of the seafood I enjoyed, at the value I paid, I bet they would rock it out with little problem. Easier said than done, but in the meantime I stop by more often.

I don't think either adjacent building is a likely option, but they will begin construction on the patio alongside the east side of the patio soon and that will nearly double the number of seats they have available. I'd be surprised if the dining room wasn't a little roomier then as well. I'm with you on loving having this place in the neighborhood and on the lobster roll being great and an outstanding value.

#22 Pork Belly

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 12:41 PM

Stopped by on Friday for an excellent lunch. Pigs in a Blanket were like a gourmet version of the Pillsbury Crescent Roll-wrapped hot dogs I used to make in college. And fried cod sandwich was fresh and well-cooked (although the fries were a bit on the flaccid side). Going back soon for the lobster roll and maybe another couple orders of Ps in a B.

#23 Tweaked

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:00 AM

Stopped in for dinner saturday night, several tables open so no problem getting one...overall a favorable first impression.

arugula salad with beets and goat cheese (classic puck, breaded and fried) - nothing spectacular, but a solid salad.
peppadew peppers stuffed with cheese - a winner, a hit of sweetness followed by heat, topped with creamy cheese.
Clam casino pizza - the outer crust was nicely blistered with some char, but the bottom crust was still pale. Could have perhaps used another minute of two in the oven.

I liked the place, a relaxed neighborhood joint...probably not really worth a drive across town, but certainly worth checking out if you are in the hood.

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#24 New Foodie

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:45 PM

Wow, I can't believe there haven't been any reviews since August a year ago. I definitely ate there more when it first opened than I have in the past year, but each time I've been I've been pretty satisfied with my meal. My one complaint is the price creep. There are certainly very affordable things on the menu still, but some things that were fairly cheap when it first opened are now not quite worth it (case in point is the goat cheese stuffed peppadews which used to be $4 and are now $7!). I do like that they have a whole list of $3 small plates though.

They've been serving brunch for a while now, and we went back when they first opened for it, however I hadn't been back for brunch again until yesterday. Based on our meal, I need to put this place back into the rotation (especially since it is apparently rarely crowded at brunch). Also, their patio is now open (although it might not really be viable again until the spring).

They have $5 Bloody Marys and $5 Mimosas during their Sunday brunch (begins at 11am). There's a list of 6-8 breakfast/brunch type options available, along with all of their pizzas.

Two of us had The Breakfast Pizza ($12 Herb butter, homefries, bacon, mozzarella, Sunnyside eggs, and Vermont maple syrup drizzle) and would both heartily recommend it. The pizzas would probably be big enough to split, or make for a very filling meal. The crust is thin enough not to take up too much stomach space, but has a nice char and crunch. The pizzas were very generously sprinkled with bacon, and the eggs were perfectly cooked to be able to spread the yolk around. I asked for a little more syrup on the side to add a bit more sweet, but it really is very good as is. It'll be tough not to order this on future trips.

My +1 had the Eggs Kennebunkport ($15 Lobster, poached egg, hollandaise on an English muffin. Served with homefries). I am not a huge hollandaise fan, so I am not the best judge of this, but it's basically a Benedict with lobster meat instead of Canadian bacon. The +1 said he really liked it, although it was very rich.

The fourth of our group had the Breakfast Burger ($12 8oz Grilled Angus beef, Vermont cheddar, maple bacon, sunnyside egg) and devoured it. Apparently he is a bit of a breakfast burger connoisseur, and he declared this his favorite when compared to Tunnicliff's and Ulah Bistro. The burger was HUGE when it came out and had some nice, thick, bacon on top. It is served with either fries or home fries.

With so many new places on H St these days I really hope Liberty stays on people's radars cause I've enjoyed it and want to continue to do so!

-Jenny

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, Garfield"


#25 dcandohio

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:30 AM

We had a really enjoyable experience here last night. We opted for the patio, where comfortable furniture is spaced for private conversation, and strings of overlead lights create a festive feel. The wine list is spare and pretty uninteresting, but we had a serviceable Malbec that was fine with the meal. I was intrigued with the squash salad, and +1 wanted it too. Our lovely server steered us to the small size even though we were splitting it. Appreciated the "down sell," as a small was plenty for sharing before entrees. Spinach, squash grilled, but not soft, and a terrific fruity dressing. I had the short rib spaghetti. The server said the pasta was house-made. I was worried because I have a tendency to order seasonally-inappropriaate meals (heavy stuff in summer), and it was warm out. The server was very enthusiastic sbout it, so I went ahead. Yummy! It wasn't too heavy, more like a light beef gravy base, with lots of mushrooms, peas and a decent amount of the short rib. There was just enough gorgonzola to add creaminess and tang. The portion was big, and I have leftovers for lunch today. +1 had a pizza with the spicy sauce option, pepperoni and banana peppers. I had a bite. I liked it. It is not destination pizza, but the crust is thin and crackly, cooked all the way to the center, and the toppings were good. Better than Matchbox, for a general comparison.

We've been three time now, and we have enjoyed each visit. It's a low-key, pleasant place, with reasonable prices and genuinely nice staff. Wish it was in my neighborhood.

Shut up and pour another glass of wine, please.


#26 DanielK

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:34 AM

This landed up being a very nice dinner stop after catching A CLOCKWORK ORANGE at Scena Theatre at H Street Playhouse (which, incidentally, you should catch before it goes dark later this month.)

I'll quote from memory, as the online menu is out of date for both items and prices. Seared scallops was a nice shared starter, featuring perfectly cooked and seared scallops, a horseradish/mustard sauce, and a well composed granny smith apple salad. However,at $10, it's hardly a bargain for TWO medium-sized scallops.

We tried the Short Rib "spaghetti". Now, I didn't read this topic before dining, to see that it really was going to be pasta, but I assumed that because they put "spaghetti" in quotes on the menu, they really meant shredded short ribs to look like spaghetti. Nope, shredded short ribs over pasta, with a light beef/cream gravy instead of tomato sauce, with lots of peas and mushrooms. If they served this over wide egg noodles instead, and called it Short Rib "Stroganoff", it would be a better dish (and more accurate title.)

We also had an excellent roasted skate, two generous pieces over spinach, green beans, potatoes, and capers. I think they just didn't rinse the capers well enough, because everything touching them was overly salty, but it was a minor nit in an otherwise very good dish.

Definitely worth a visit if you're in this neighborhood.

#27 New Foodie

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:41 AM

Liberty Tree continues to be one of our go-to's when we can't figure out where else to go and want to walk in somewhere (I think we've only ever had to wait to be seated once). My in-laws have been in town since Wednesday since their power is out in NJ, and we went to Liberty Tree with them the first night they came down.

Three of us started with salads that we enjoyed. I continue to appreciate that they offer both small and large sizes of their salads so you can order them as an app or an entree. Mine was spinach with roasted butternut squash, pecans, and creamy fig vinaigrette. I really liked the combination and it was a nice fall dish. I actually ended up adding in some dried cranberries from my +1's salad (his house salad had an overabundance) and it went really well with the squash.

Apparently Wednesday night is half-price burger night, and my mother-in-law took advantage of that. She ate the whole thing, so I think she liked it. Both she and my father-in-law really liked the french fries that came with their dishes. My father-in-law got the fish and chips and liked it. The fish was pretty light in color and didn't look that appetizing to me, but he ate all of it. His only slight complaint was that the tartar sauce wasn't great. My +1 had the seared scallops, which are served with something different than is on the online menu. The bite I had of scallop was nicely caramelized on top and very tender. I had a pork chop served sliced on top of a hash of sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and a bacon maple jus. Another great fall dish.

Probably not a restaurant I'd drive across the city for our make a special trip in from the suburbs, but if you live near H St, or are heading out in the area for the night, you could do worse than making it your dinner destination.

-Jenny

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, Garfield"


#28 dcandohio

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

I just want to report on what a class act Liberty Tree is. We had a service SNAFU on New Year's Eve. What happened is not important; it's the kind of thing that happens on a very busy night when staff get overwhelmed. I sent an e-mail to the "contact us" link on the web page, expecting nothing but hoping my comments might prevent future issues. Scott Hamilton responded with a very thoughtful description of what was going on backstage that demonstrated a true concern for his customers and his staff. He apologized, owned up to the issue, and said he was using the incident as a teaching moment for his staff. It was very heartfelt and very professional. He made it right. When a small business acts this way, I am eager to give it another chance.
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Shut up and pour another glass of wine, please.


#29 New Foodie

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:49 PM

Some friends were planning a tour of DC Brau on Saturday early afternoon and wanted a place to brunch beforehand. Naturally H St. was the best location, and since there were 12 of us needing space, we figured Liberty Tree would be a good option. They were very accommodating to our large group and the service was great, despite being such a big table.

 

The online menu is a bit outdated, but a lot of what is listed is available still. A number of people at our table had the breakfast pizza, and it got good reviews as usual. The folks that got regular pizza liked it as well. It is a very thin crust (which isn't my normal preference), but it has a good flavor and the toppings are tasty.

 

I had what I believe they call The Chesterfield ($12 - housemade English muffin, pulled pork, white cheddar, pickled onion, sunnyside egg, with fries). It was in no way healthy, but oh man, was it good. The English muffin was delicious (and I believe had a swipe of butter on it before the sandwich was constructed). The pork was moist and flavorful and there was so much it was spilling out of all sides of the sandwich. The cheese had melted into the meat, and the onions added a nice tang to contrast the richness of the meat and cheese. I had to order my egg over hard, but I'm sure if it was runny it would've added another level of flavor. It was messy, but I inhaled it. And as always the fries were crisp and really good. I would definitely order this next time.

 

I think they also have a $15 all you can drink mimosas or bloody mary deal (of which I couldn't partake...bummer), but if you like horseradish, you'll like the bloodies here.


-Jenny

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, Garfield"


#30 Kanishka

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:21 PM

Have you ever had one of those Sunday mornings where you space out during your morning run and over-do it by, oh, a factor of two? And then you come home to shower and dawdle a bit too long, making you too late for brunch at Le Grenier or Boundary Road? And by then you've waited six hours since eating anything substantive, your head is spinning, your temper is flaring, and you want to stab everyone?

 

If so, I recommend a plate of spicy spaghetti and meatballs at Liberty Tree, which will be your first non-fast food option serving meals as you walk east down H St. Not only will your meal provide a heavy and much-needed dose of carbs, but it will taste delicious too.  I'd never considered putting banana peppers on my spaghetti before, but they made a punchy alternative to crushed chili flakes -- I dug the slight bit of sourness from the pickling.  Per the bartender, the sauce, pasta, and meatballs were all freshly made, and they certainly tasted like it. The garlic bread was more of an afterthought, and I sopped up the sauce with the pasta.

 

I less ate and more inhaled my "brunch," (it feels very silly to call spaghetti and meatballs "brunch"), so I do have to go back on a less empty stomach for a second, more relaxed meal at some point.



#31 DonRocks

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:40 PM

Have you ever had one of those Sunday mornings where you space out during your morning run and over-do it by, oh, a factor of two? 

 

Intensity or distance?

 

If the latter, I vote for a Saturday-night drug with a shorter half-life.


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#32 Kanishka

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:40 PM

Intensity or distance?

 

If the latter, I vote for a Saturday-night drug with a shorter half-life.

 

Hah. Since you asked, distance.  Caused less by Saturday night and more by a good playlist, decreasing winds, and sunshine.  
 

Also, I believed we dined at the bar next to former Mayor Anthony Williams (he had a cod sandwich).  Not sure though -- it could have been a doppelganger.



#33 bettyjoan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:17 AM

Hubby and I went to Liberty Tree for the first time last night - they were doing a beer dinner with Three Stars Brewing Company.  In the interest of full disclosure, I won free tickets to the event on Twitter, so other than gratuity, we did not pay for our meal.

 

It was a fun event, and the pairings were, for the most part, very successful.  The Movement Pale Ale (a great beer that I would definitely drink regularly) was served with a stuffed poblano pepper, the Citra Lemon Saison was served with a pickled shrimp salad (probably the least successful dish - it had way too much sweetness - but it actually made for a good pairing), the Lime Basil Saison was served with fried oysters and creamed corn (my favorite dish and pairing of the evening - absolutely delicious), the Southern Belle Imperial Brown Ale was served with a flank steak (perfectly cooked) with spinach, mushrooms, and pesto (the latter of which, in my opinion, didn't pair well with the beer), and the Pandemic Porter was served with a summer berry cobbler with fresh whipped cream (a great ending and a very nice pairing, though the beer is not my personal favorite).

 

The chef came out and chatted with us a few times, and he was very passionate about what he was cooking.  He was excited that, due to the mild weather, he was able to offer his summer menu for a bit longer - but he also gave us some previews of what he was rolling out on the fall menu in a couple of weeks.

 

The space is small but cozy, and it looks like their outdoor area is a nice option if the weather is good.  We will definitely be back.


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