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There's a Coming Soon sign at this building in Clarendon (near the corner of Wilson and Washington Blvd). The website says coming in early 2007 though, so I guess it's still a ways off from opening. Anyone know anything about this place?
I talked to them today during Clarendon Day. Two families in the neighborhood are opening the restaurant! It is a first time venture. They are going to have two woodburning ovens to prepare pizzas and other stuff. They did not have a sample menu.

Sure seems like they have made a hefty investment in the venture.

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I just phoned over to the Liberty Tavern -- they already are listed on OpenTable -- and the guy I spoke with said they would be open for public consumption on April 16 -- no jive. Said something about a $1 million build-up for publicity, but I'm not getting a cut

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bar on trhe first floor, to the left as you enter, with some dinning downstairs. Dinning room on the second level with open kitchen. Go on by and say hello to Mark Fedorchak, GM and one of the owners. His brother Steve is a DC legend. He was a bartender at the Capital Grille downtown and worked his way up the ladder. Now he is Director of Operations for 4 East Coast Cap Grilles. DC, Tysons Corner, Philly, and NYC. I wish both Steve and Mark much sucess!

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Is it more of a restaurant or a bar? Will they have happy hour drink and/or food specials?

Thanks.

It appears that it will wear both hats. We stopped by on friday night - the bar was open to the public, but not the restaurant part. I think it has potential space-wise. Comfy place with plenty of seating options. Great beers on tap (the stout was excellent) -with one noted exception... I am a bit nervous that they have PBR on tap. I certainly hope that the presence of this one tap will not cause those who may otherwise frequent the Clarendon Ballroom or Whitlow's to gather en masse. Not that there is anything wrong with that beer or people who enjoy those places, but the neighborhood could use another higher end place like Harry's, Eleventh or the Woodgrille for those who enjoy a post-Dehli Club cocktail.

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It appears that it will wear both hats. We stopped by on friday night - the bar was open to the public, but not the restaurant part. I think it has potential space-wise. Comfy place with plenty of seating options. Great beers on tap (the stout was excellent) -with one noted exception... I am a bit nervous that they have PBR on tap. I certainly hope that the presence of this one tap will not cause those who may otherwise frequent the Clarendon Ballroom or Whitlow's to gather en masse. Not that there is anything wrong with that beer or people who enjoy those places, but the neighborhood could use another higher end place like Harry's, Eleventh or the Woodgrille for those who enjoy a post-Dehli Club cocktail.
Just a note that I know from a bunch of bar owners, I believe the Reef included. Those cheap beers like PBR and Miller light in a line of really good beer tend to basically pay for the entire rest of the taps.
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I stopped by to check out Liberty Tavern which was scheduled for a Happy Hour visit by the Clarendon HH gang this afternoon. Obviously going through some natural shake-down issues. But this is a nice space, woody, large bar with ample comfy sofa seating area that takes up a third of the lower floor. Upstairs there are 20 or so tables for sit-down dining. The menu so far is limited until they get things together, but it includes 4 pizzas, two steaks, two fish, pork chop, chicken, salads and apps. I tried two of the pizzas, prepared in the wood fired oven. The White "Vermont" is very good --- white Cheddar, prosciuto, and granny smith apples. Personal sized with fruit included in the topping of three of the offerings along with high quality cheese. Some others had the duck confit shepards pie -- too soupy although tasty, but the solids were swimming in liquid. Someone else ordered the small ribeye (they have a 16 oz and a 32 oz) which looked good on the sizzling platter. The wine by-the-glass is a bit pricey -- 9 and 10$ for an Aussie Shiraz and a S. African cab blend, respectively. They have many bottle offerings, but I didnt take a look at the list--next time :blink:

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Had dinner here over the weekend in what was a so-so meal in a nicely decorated space.

Things started off well. One of the breads served was an Irish soda bread with raisins, caraway seed and orange rind that was very good. We started with the fritto misto -- zucchini, calamari, shrimp ($10) that was tasty, but a slight bit on the greasy side (nitpick). I thought the portion was small for the price and wished it had more than two shrimp and a handful or so of calamari.

We split two mains for dinner and things started looking down. The first was a pasta dish; ziti -- EVOO, chard, feta, sweet peppers ($15), A bland and very oily and wet dish that was thankfully pepped up by some fresh ground pepper that was offered by the server. There was plenty left in the dish when we finished and no reason to take it home. The dish needs more feta, a touch of acid, garlic, or something to give it some pep. The second main was a pizza -- goat cheese, sweet peppers, rapini, pecorino, olio santo ($12) that was OK, with a crisp crust, but the flavors just did not work well together.

We had a French press for two ($6) and it was very good and much better than the pedestrian cookie plate for two ($8) that we got for dessert.

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A former member of the Kitchen staff at Inn at Little Washington, Adam Barnett, has joined the staff at Liberty as sous-chef. He specializes in house-made sausages, a sample of which is featured on one of the pizzas. It is a lamb-pork sausage that is quite tasty. Also joining the staff is an alum of the Bar at Firefly whom some of you know well --Rachel who has a shift on Friday and will probably do some other nights as well.

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I just finished my third or fourth visit, and here are my 10 reasons for being in love and wanting to marry Liberty Tavern:

1. Seasonal ingredients that are consistently of super high quality.

2. Cocktails. Super stiff, super balanced. Give me a Masonic after a hard day in place of that top shelf Martini. I understand that they'll be introducing 'The Industrial' soon, which they describe as a top shelf margarita at bargain prices.

3. Press coffee for a decent price. Personally, I'm tired of paying $6-7 for a press service (you know who you are) that still tastes weak and nasty. My favorite part of coffee service is the little egg timer that the waiter brings by to tell you when it's time to push down the press - no more guessing, no more crappy coffee.

4. Bronzino with spaetzle. I've seen this other places in town, but Liberty makes a great skin-on roast with something added to the spaetzel so that they're creamy and rich, not pasty and nasty. Plus, baby carrots in some kind of lavender butter that adds a hint of citrus and aroma, without tasting like mom's undie drawer.

5. Devil's food and red velvet cake. It tastes like a super quality ho-ho covered in italian meringue that's what marshmallow fluff wants to be when it grows up and goes to charm school.

6. Servers who know and love food. I know it's hard to hire good help, but I'm going to scream if I go to one more quality restaurant where the waiter can't tell me what the ingredients are, can't remember the specials, has no opinion on what tastes good, doesn't know what beverages I should order to go with what entree (that includes coffee), and seem to subsist on wonder bread and peanut butter. My favorite waiter, Ethan, can sell me on anything - including the bizarre sounding Fruity Pebbles ice cream. We can't promote the creativity of the chefs if the servers can't sell it when they're pushing the envelope.

7. Someone who tries to cultivate me as a regular. Today, I came in at 4:45 (15 minutes before the dining room opened), dressed crappy, and the worst of all restaurant sins, a woman alone ordering only dessert. I had the owner seat me in the lounge, only (graciously) telling me that they would be happy to serve me dessert, but that it would take a few minutes since it was early. He personally served me my coffee and dessert, and had someone check on me every 20 minutes or so while I lingered for almost two hours reading.

Compare this to my earlier experience at another comparable Clarendon restaurant, where my 5:30 reservation and request to be seated at a quiet table in the dining room was met by seating me in the bar area next to a family with 4 children under the age of 4 and a super macho business dinner. When I asked to be moved, I was told that I couldn't because "the dining room opened at 5:30."

8. Market greens.

9. The crostini with lamb sausage and fava beans. It eats like a funky hummus with lamb, on bread that has just enough crust to be crunchy and flavorful, but not so textured as to wage war with your teeth and dislodge the contents so that they go all over your shirt.

10. Right-sized portions. The food is rich and flavorful, but I never feel overwhelmed or dismayed at the amount on my plate. Not enough restaurants understand the difference between lots of stuff and quality.

I'm not seeing tons of love for Liberty, but I think they've really hit their stride, and do a good job of providing something for everybody, both on the menu, and in the way the space is set up. The dining room is a much tamer place than the bar - don't be dismayed by the fratastic Ballroom crowd overflowing on the street on the weekends.

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I just finished my third or fourth visit, and here are my 10 reasons for being in love and wanting to marry Liberty Tavern:

1. Seasonal ingredients that are consistently of super high quality.

2. Cocktails. Super stiff, super balanced. Give me a Masonic after a hard day in place of that top shelf Martini. I understand that they'll be introducing 'The Industrial' soon, which they describe as a top shelf margarita at bargain prices.

3. Press coffee for a decent price. Personally, I'm tired of paying $6-7 for a press service (you know who you are) that still tastes weak and nasty. My favorite part of coffee service is the little egg timer that the waiter brings by to tell you when it's time to push down the press - no more guessing, no more crappy coffee.

4. Bronzino with spaetzle. I've seen this other places in town, but Liberty makes a great skin-on roast with something added to the spaetzel so that they're creamy and rich, not pasty and nasty. Plus, baby carrots in some kind of lavender butter that adds a hint of citrus and aroma, without tasting like mom's undie drawer.

5. Devil's food and red velvet cake. It tastes like a super quality ho-ho covered in italian meringue that's what marshmallow fluff wants to be when it grows up and goes to charm school.

6. Servers who know and love food. I know it's hard to hire good help, but I'm going to scream if I go to one more quality restaurant where the waiter can't tell me what the ingredients are, can't remember the specials, has no opinion on what tastes good, doesn't know what beverages I should order to go with what entree (that includes coffee), and seem to subsist on wonder bread and peanut butter. My favorite waiter, Ethan, can sell me on anything - including the bizarre sounding Fruity Pebbles ice cream. We can't promote the creativity of the chefs if the servers can't sell it when they're pushing the envelope.

7. Someone who tries to cultivate me as a regular. Today, I came in at 4:45 (15 minutes before the dining room opened), dressed crappy, and the worst of all restaurant sins, a woman alone ordering only dessert. I had the owner seat me in the lounge, only (graciously) telling me that they would be happy to serve me dessert, but that it would take a few minutes since it was early. He personally served me my coffee and dessert, and had someone check on me every 20 minutes or so while I lingered for almost two hours reading.

Compare this to my earlier experience at another comparable Clarendon restaurant, where my 5:30 reservation and request to be seated at a quiet table in the dining room was met by seating me in the bar area next to a family with 4 children under the age of 4 and a super macho business dinner. When I asked to be moved, I was told that I couldn't because "the dining room opened at 5:30."

8. Market greens.

9. The crostini with lamb sausage and fava beans. It eats like a funky hummus with lamb, on bread that has just enough crust to be crunchy and flavorful, but not so textured as to wage war with your teeth and dislodge the contents so that they go all over your shirt.

10. Right-sized portions. The food is rich and flavorful, but I never feel overwhelmed or dismayed at the amount on my plate. Not enough restaurants understand the difference between lots of stuff and quality.

I'm not seeing tons of love for Liberty, but I think they've really hit their stride, and do a good job of providing something for everybody, both on the menu, and in the way the space is set up. The dining room is a much tamer place than the bar - don't be dismayed by the fratastic Ballroom crowd overflowing on the street on the weekends.

Minus the coffee, I must have eaten at the Bizzaro Liberty Tavern.

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Minus the coffee, I must have eaten at the Bizzaro Liberty Tavern.

It's funny, my wife's (Beezy) and my experience was so different that I re-read your post just to see what you had. You and we had ordered almost diametrically opposed sorts of dishes: we've started with cold apps (salads, etc) and moved to more classic protein-based dishes: I've had the hangar steak, chicken, and one of the fish specials, and was impressed by both the steak (not a Landrum steak, but quite nice) and the fish, and pleased enough with the chicken. But neither of us, as far as I can recall, ventured into the pasta or pizza selections. Could be a case where the kitchen does not do the all parts of the menu equal justice.

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I was there this past weekend. The standout for me was the Tian of Maine Lobster w/ mache, fennel, and white peach habanero hot sauce appetizer. It was quite tasty and a tad unusual. I appreciated that the lobster was not overcooked.

I found the room (upstairs) to be loud and it was odd that they did not seem to have an entree special - only appetizer and salad specials. If they had an entree special our server did not seem to know it.

My tablemates had pizzas which they seemed to enjoy but did not look like anything special to me.

I would strongly recommend starting your meal with one (or more) Masonic cocktails.

All in all it was a pretty solid meal with good service.

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Let's get the bad news out of the way: The napkins at Liberty Tavern stink, and I mean this place desperately needs to rethink how they're cleaning their linens. Are you listening, Sushi-Ko? :angry:

If you like a healthy bustle, then avoid the downstairs bar area which goes about twenty decibels beyond that - when full, the space can only be described as a racket, with noise reverberating everywhere.

A salad of Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Cheese ($11) is a heartening tribute to summer, with high-quality tomatoes and good leaves of basil that show some real support for seasonal ingredients. Served with EVOO, Fleur de Sel, and Vin Cotto, it might seem expensive, but it's a big portion - easily enough for two people - and gives me hope that Liberty Tavern may be sourcing from some of the vendors at the Arlington market.

I ordered a Hanger Steak ($20) medium-rare, and just before our server walked away, I asked a second time because I was worried about the number of covers they were handling: "Can you make sure they don't cook it more than medium-rare?" She assured me that's how the chef prefers it. It's a decent hangar steak, sliced, and drizzled with a little smoked-pepper aioli, plated with a complex presentation of leek-potato gratin served in a cast-iron mini French oven, and sitting alongside a mash of teardrop tomatoes, watercress, and black-eyed pea and corn succotash. It may sound busy, but it works very well together, and my only, erm, beef about the dish was that it came cooked medium.

And there's no reason to order off the kid's menu when you can get a side order of Macaroni au Gratin with applewood-smoked bacon ($7). Served in a cast-iron pan, this is a great mac-n-cheese, a hearty portion designed for sharing.

A very good meal at Liberty Tavern - the service friendly, the produce shockingly good considering the volume they're cranking out, and the cooking itself better than it needs to be. Then again, with Tallula and Eleventh Street Lounge lurking nearby, maybe, just maybe, the standards in Clarendon are being raised, little by little, one restaurant at a time.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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A very good meal at Liberty Tavern - the service friendly, the produce shockingly good considering the volume they're cranking out, and the cooking itself better than it needs to be. Then again, with Tallula and Eleventh Street Lounge lurking nearby, maybe, just maybe, the standards in Clarendon are being raised, little by little, one restaurant at a time.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Word! I'll pass along the point about their linen service. Liberty is indeed contiuing a welcome trend for Clarendon denizens who have until lately had to contend with the likes of the Cheesecake Factory and La Tasca. We'll have to see if the trend contines when Restaurant 3 or whatever it's real name will be opens shortly.
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After a long, long workweek (that doesn't technically end until...um...next Sunday. Sigh.), I needed a break. After a debate about Liberty Tavern vs. Eleventh, we decided to attempt LT once again. We'd tried about 5 times before but apparently have seriously conflicting schedules. So I OpenTabled an early reservation and waited in anticipation. I was not disappointed! In fact, as we were leaving I thought of Don and the crappy food/restaurant experiences he's been having and hoped that he'd chosen to eat at LT tonight.

I hadn't eaten yet and was hungry, as was Tripewriter. We started out with the watermelon salad -- delicious. I'm pretty sure I've never had melon that I've liked as much as I did in this dish. We also had the burrata, which was delicious (if not quite up to Dino's standards). The red tomato in particular was summer perfection. Next I had the trout and Tripewriter had the chicken. Both were faboo! We ordered two sides -- mac and cheese and fries -- and didn't regret it for a second. The chicken was crispy and tender, with lovely white asparagus (and green, but I was only allowed one spear of white!) and a (nicely arranged) pile of mashed potatoes. The trout was delicious -- I think probably the best trout I've ever had. I'll admit that I didn't eat the skin, though it was perfectly crisped. It was just too much for this former fishophobe. The small potatoes that topped the trout were ok, but the pole beans were good enough to guard from predation. The fries tasted like potatoes -- sort of a skinnier version of Eamonn's famous chips. The mac and cheese was boiling hot, and we were getting pretty full, so we didn't devour it fully, but what we did have was nice. We think it will be a go-to dish in the winter months. After seeing that the coffee was from Murky Coffe, we both had decaf, and it was by far one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. It rivaled Restaurant Eve's brew for flavor. Dessert was a very, very solid piece of chocolate cake. Kind of like eating condensed fudge. We didn't get very far with that, either. A bonus was that we had enough leftovers -- chicken and both sides, plus the cake -- to feed Tripewriter for the two days that I'll be stuck in NYC. Lucky man. Oh, for beverages, Tripewriter had the Masonic, which he deemed dandy (though he regretted impetuously removing his straw without figuring out how to drink something with mint in it without one), and a Magic Hat beer. I had two Bell's Oberons and loved them both. The only slight marring of the evening was when making another reservation tonight I noticed that they had told OpenTable that I was a no-show, despite my checking in with the receptionist :angry: I'm sure OT can sort it out, however, and can't imagine that this wee error would be enough to dissuade us from eating at Liberty Tavern regularly and happily. I've already mentioned to Tripewriter that he should expect to start including it in his commute home, as everything on the menu -- and more -- is also available from Liberty to Go for take-out.

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I was marked as a no show at a different restaurant before. I told Opentable and it was sorted out in a couple days with no problems. Shouldn't be an issue.

We stopped in a couple weeks ago for dinner. Figuring it was just another Clarendon restaurant and not having heard anything about it at all at the time, we stuck with ordering pizzas as we can both tolerate poorly prepared pizza better than poorly prepared other items. We had the Vermont (Cabot white cheddar, prosciutto, caramelized onions, Granny Smith apples, and sage) and the Americano (grilled chicken, smoked cheddar, mozzarella, crushed tomato, arugula). Both were quite good, though certainly not in the echelon of the top pizzas in the area. However, it was evident that the food was well prepared and definitely made it the place for us to go when dining in Clarendon.

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A new Appetizer "special" is on offer and I sampled it last evening. It's Greens, Egg and Ham. The Greens being a mixed bean and greens salad on top of which is the Ham -- house cured in five spice PORK BELLY and then topped with a poached egg (not green). Nice! The pork belly is browned and then braised so the meat is falling apart and the five spice flavoring gives it an Asian accent. My only suggestion was that it might be nice to have the fat surrounding the meat a little more crispy and bacon-like.

Side Bar: THere has been some criticism from civilians on the Washington Post website about the temperature at which the red wines at Liberty are served. It turns out that the temperature control in the bar strorage system was a tad on the low side, and has now been adjusted to be closer to 65F so that the reds should be at or near the correct serving temp.

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A new Appetizer "special" is on offer and I sampled it last evening. It's Greens, Egg and Ham. The Greens being a mixed bean and greens salad on top of which is the Ham -- house cured in five spice PORK BELLY and then topped with a poached egg (not green). Nice! The pork belly is browned and then braised so the meat is falling apart and the five spice flavoring gives it an Asian accent. My only suggestion was that it might be nice to have the fat surrounding the meat a little more crispy and bacon-like.

Side Bar: THere has been some criticism from civilians on the Washington Post website about the temperature at which the red wines at Liberty are served. It turns out that the temperature control in the bar strorage system was a tad on the low side, and has now been adjusted to be closer to 65F so that the reds should be at or near the correct serving temp.

A tad low?! That has to be a first. I would rather my red served a bit cool than the normal room temperature that most places serve them.

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I went to Liberty Tavern for the first time a few weeks ago (a good friend recently moved from Dupont to Clarendon, so I'll be expanding my horizons). I started with the watermelon salad, which I agree was very good (the tarragon and shaved ham providing a nice contrast to the sweet melon), though it's a lot of watermelon -- better to share than to eat on one's own. We got two pizzas: Adam's Linguica, with the homemade sausage referenced above, and the "summer" pizza with Black Mission fig, Calhoun’s country ham, fontina, sage, and fig vin cotto. I surprisingly found the sausage pizza a bit bland, but the fig pizza was a nice combination of sweet and savory -- and a good contrast with the Linguica. Has anyone else had the Linguica? The server recommended it, and I don't know if mine wasn't as good as they are usually or if it's just not my bag.

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I surprisingly found the sausage pizza a bit bland, but the fig pizza was a nice combination of sweet and savory -- and a good contrast with the Linguica. Has anyone else had the Linguica? The server recommended it, and I don't know if mine wasn't as good as they are usually or if it's just not my bag.

I had the Linguica pizza last week and had the same impression. I thought the sausage could have used some salt (I just sprinkled some salt on the pizza). I really liked the Pursuit of Happiness cocktail (edited to add: cocktail includes "Skyy vodka, strawberries, pineapple, lemon, basil, up" (7-up?)).

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Went here on Sunday with a large party. The service was very friendly, and the napkins did not stink, so someone must have gotten the message.

I must admit I'm surprised by some of the responses--based on what I read, I had thought this place had been open for longer than 5 1/2 months. I was made aware when we were complimenting one of the owners on our way out. It's not easy to have that large a party (14), young and old, and have every person happy with their meal.

We were there at opening, 10 am, and I was a bit surprised that at least one item on the buffet was already on the cold side. (A fritatta) I suspect the initial outlay was mistimed; we weren't there long enough to see it replaced however. I also did not see everything that was listed on the web menu, but no matter as there was plenty to eat! The menu

can be found on the website.

The scrambled eggs with cream were very good; I tried to only take small samples of everything but had to go back for seconds on this one. I enjoyed the haddock, and the salmon and roast beef as well. Nothing too fancy, just good flavors. The potatoes were a bit overdone, but that's OK as I preferred to get my carbs elsewhere. The apples they had on the buffet were very crisp and fresh; I thought they may have been Stayman, but when we asked we were told they were Jonagolds. Quite tasty. I missed sampling lots of items, so suppose I'll just have to return...I definitely enjoyed the variety. And, there was something for everybody, and all for $15 a head. Note to ask to sit upstairs...I did notice that those sitting downstairs had to do a bit more work for their meals.

Almost forgot to mention--the coffee. That french press coffee. That, along with the best Pecan Pie I have ever tasted,

is enough to make me want to go back and try their other offerings, be it lunch or dinner.

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My wife and I had a very pleasant lunch at the bar last Friday. My knockwurst sandwich was delicious, but not the Cubano was flavorful but pretty dry. To their credit, one of the managers/owners asked us what we thought about the food and said that our impressions were consistent with the feedback they's been getting as they've played around with the ingredients. Combined with the friendly bar service and the impressive selction of quality beers on tap, it does make us want to come back for dinner on our next trip.

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I've been to Liberty Tavern twice in the last 2 weeks, and I think it is a great addition to the neighborhood. The food has been quite good and the prices are definitely reasonable. They have been very accomodating with the kids as well. This is the type of place that every neighborhood needs and I am glad they found a home in Arlington. I think they just changed the menu last week, but last night we enjoyed Gnocchi w/ Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and a sort of Beurre Noisette. It was really good and a resonable at $8 (for a 1/2 portion). We also enjoyed the Salt Cod Fritters and a simple chopped salad. i look forward to going back and tying some of the other new menu items.

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Yes, I get a little bit bitter that a place like this wasn't in Clarendon when I lived close by. Over the past year or so, I have had good meals at Restaurant 3, Sette Bello and Eleventh, places that were just a glimmer in my eye when I lived there, but Liberty Tavern definitely is the best of new, more serious places to eat in Clarendon.

I was there about a month ago on a Thursday night, just long enough to grab a drink before we ran off somewhere else to eat (it was too crowded to get a table and we were starving), but on a Monday night, it was pleasantly quiet in the bar at 6:00. There was a small number of drinkers and diners, but I was lucky to essentially have Blaine and Blair all to myself at the bar. Great bartenders, very knowledgable, perfectly nice and not overbearing. Not quite sure of all the happy hour specials, but they did have 1/2 price glasses of wine from 4:00 to 6:30. Not sure if they do that for every happy hour, but they have a solid wine list, so if you happen to be there, this is a great deal. Had a glass of Nine Stones Hilltop Shiraz (great at $4.50 per glass) and waited for my friend to arrive. When she got there, we headed upstairs to the dining room, a great extension of the bar downstairs. When we sat down at 6:30, the tables were sparse, but when we left at about 8:30, the place was pretty much packed.

We settled on the Valmior Albarino for dinner, not what I would have chosen, since I very rarely drink white, but it was a great selection and my friend loved it. Great bread basket while we waited, outstanding butter, it is funny how the little things always get me. We split the gnocchi to start, a pretty good version with butternut squash, chantrelles, sage and brown butter. My only complaint, and I can't believe I am saying this, is that there was too much butter. I thought the taste was pretty good, but the butter overpowered it. Our entrees, however, were excellent. The autumn pizza, with wild mushrooms, potatoes, pancetta and robiola cheese, was great, chewy and crispy crust with good flavors. The amish chicken, with buttermilk mashed potatoes, broccolini and a carmelized onion gravy, was another solid dish. The fries, which we ordered on the side, were inconsistent. There was a good flavor component, but half were soggy, not what you want in fries. And, to boot, the dessert that we shared was great as well. A combination of red velvet and devil's food cake, covered by cream cheese icing and meringue, was creative and a good way to end the meal. Add Sara, our personable waitress, and you have one hell of a good meal.

So, I still hold a bit of a grudge that I never got to experience walking from my house to a place like Liberty Tavern, but I am glad that the people of Clarendon have a place like this to go to. Good mix of bar and dining, great service and a menu that tastes as good as it reads. I'm just lucky that I have friends that live right around the corner.

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Yes, I get a little bit bitter that a place like this wasn't in Clarendon when I lived close by. Over the past year or so, I have had good meals at Restaurant 3, Sette Bello and Eleventh, places that were just a glimmer in my eye when I lived there, but Liberty Tavern definitely is the best of new, more serious places to eat in Clarendon.

IThere was a small number of drinkers and diners, but I was lucky to essentially have Blaine and Blair all to myself at the bar. Great bartenders, very knowledgable, perfectly nice and not overbearing. Not quite sure of all the happy hour specials, but they did have 1/2 price glasses of wine from 4:00 to 6:30. Add Sara, our personable waitress, and you have one hell of a good meal.

So, I still hold a bit of a grudge that I never got to experience walking from my house to a place like Liberty Tavern, but I am glad that the people of Clarendon have a place like this to go to. Good mix of bar and dining, great service and a menu that tastes as good as it reads. I'm just lucky that I have friends that live right around the corner.

If you had Blaine and Blair and Sara in one night you hit the trifecta :blink: And yes the entire wine-by-the-glass list is avaialble at every Happy Hour for half price -- truly a good deal.
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If you had Blaine and Blair and Sara in one night you hit the trifecta :blink: And yes the entire wine-by-the-glass list is avaialble at every Happy Hour for half price -- truly a good deal.

Guys named Blaine are pretty much always awesome. Girls, too.

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Guys named Blaine are pretty much always awesome. Girls, too.
I'll take your word on guys named Blaine, but this Blaine is all girl (as is Blair -- since that too seems to be a gender neutral appellation).
I don't know about the guy part. There was a richie in "Pretty in Pink" named Blaine and he was kind of a spineless d(&^. Cooter, on the other hand, is a fine name.
"Blaine?? Sounds like a major appliance"

-Ducky

[i'm going to be a Maverick, abandon all Modesty, and ask to move this discussion away from Blaine.]

(Yeah, yeah, if you know what I'm referring to, go ahead and smile smugly, but also know that you're old.)

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I second Andelman on the salt cod fritters, described on the menu as Chatham Salt Cod & Haddock fritters, parsley puree, stewed peppers, tarragon. I didn't love the idea of having fried food as a starter (along with a sweet(?) Italian roll and feta bread) before moving on to cheese and bread (in the autumn and Vermont pizzas), but I remember loving the salt cod fritters at the old Cafe Atlantico on Columbia Road years ago and couldn't resist. They were worth it -- and the peppers and parsley sauce were nice accompaniments. (There's a 30% chance I made that up about Cafe Atlantico, but I'm pretty sure that's where I used to get them.)

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Finally made my way to Liberty Tavern last night for an early dinner. I was happy that we got there when we did, as HH ends very early (6:30) and I was able to order a very good glass of Nine Stones Hilltop Shiraz, which was a bargain at the HH price ($4.50). The wifey got herself a surprisingly strong Industrial Marguerita, which was way too sweet for me but she loved it and was very buzzed by the time the ice cubes were poking above the liquid.

To start, we ordered the Little Tavern Salad and the Fritto Misto. I'll say now that the salad was our favorite dish of the entire night, as it was well dressed and very fresh. The Fritto Misto was hit and miss, with the haddock and calamari varying between the perfect firmness and crunch on some pieces to a soft, soggy feel on others. Also, the fennel does not work for me here. The accompanying creamy dip was good enough that we asked for another bowl to dip our pizza crust into later, though.

For our mains, we ordered the Americano (grilled chicken, smoked cheddar, mozz, tomatoes, arugula), which sounds better than it tasted. The cheddar just seemed out of place and my high hopes for the arugula were quickly dashed as it added too much bite to the pie. I love arugula salads, so much so that we even picked off the warm leaves and ate those separately with a fork, but I thought they were all wrong for this particular dish. The crust was very good, however, and we still got through the whole pizza with the help of the Fritto Misto dip (which I firmly believe could make anything edible if enough is applied to it). We also got a half order of the Gnocchi, which was well plated and very good aside from the presence of the butternut squash, which I never seem to understand as part of this or other pasta dishes that are otherwise salty and oily. I understand the contrast, but when I'm having a salty and/or creamy pasta dish, I just do not feel that anything sweet needs to be added to enhance the flavor, the pasta and accompanying sauce should cover that. Again, I like butternut squash by itself, so I pushed that aside and ate what turned into a gnocchi dish that I enjoyed, with the healthy chanterelles being the star of the show.

For dessert, we chose the recommendation of one of the servers and regretted it after the first bite. The Cinnamon and Sugar Krullers with Amaretto Brown Butter Ice Cream were dry and only carried a faint taste of cinnamon, with the overly firm dough dominating the rest. The krullers were only edible for me when covered with a scoop of the ice cream, which came in a tiny cup and was not enough to cover both of the donuts, so we wound up leaving them and wondering if that Boston Cream Pie was as good as it sounded.

Overall, I thought it is a nice restaurant that served fresh, well prepared ingredients, but I can't help but be a little disappointed that our favorite dish was the tiny, simple side salad that we ordered as an appetizer. It sounds like the cod fritters and chicken should be on my list of dishes next time, as everything that we had was pretty good, but nothing I would come back to on future visits. Also, it's hard to justify hitting this place for HH when I can go down the street for comparable deals and 1.5 more hours of discounted food and drinks at Eleventh.

ETA For full disclosure, the experience was tainted by the incredibly agitating couple sitting next to us, who argued throughout the entire meal, cursing at each other and basically having a public breakup at their table. I understand that that kind of thing happens, but it was annoying to hear F-bombs and the like for a full hour and a half while I was trying to eat.

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This being my first post here, I want to start off by saying what a great resource this board is. I enjoyed the posts of a number of members back when they were with eGullet and followed along as this site got set up. I’ve used DR for dining recommendations on my forays to DC and as part of my burger research along the East Coast – it was here, for instance, that I found out about your treasure that is Ollie's Trolley.

So, in search of a restaurant near Vienna, where my mom was visiting, I came upon this thread. I really enjoyed my meal here.

I’d say the only real disappointment was the renovation. It doesn’t appear that much was preserved of what may well have been a quite interesting building in the course of a rather uninspired, albeit costly makeover. As noted above, the bar was ear-splittingly loud, but little of the din made it to the upstairs dining room, which was bustling but didn’t affect table conversation.

I mentioned to our server that I’d learned about the restaurant on DR. Apparently the GM, Mark, overheard me, as he appeared moments later bearing a photocopy of Kliman's review in the Washingtonian. He also told us that the restaurant had been gotten a Best of Washington nod in the December issue of the magazine, which just hit the stands that day.

The breads were quite good. The sweetrolls were my favorite; an Italian featherbread and a darker one whose name I can’t recall were also served. The butter was too warm, though, degrading the effect of the fleur de sel that was supposed to coat it.

For starters, mom and gf each had a salad – the Clarendon and the apple/endive. Both were generous and well composed. I had the Calhoun’s ham, and it was delicious, served in thin slices. The spätzle were a tad small perhaps, but a perfect complement. The sauce was flavored with maple syrup, I believe, and was really, really good. The recommended, somewhat sweet Riesling paired well with this dish.

For mains, mom had the orata, which has replaced the char but is prepared identically. Very tasty. It had a really smoky bite, which I find surprising can be accomplished with smoked cranberry mostarda. I thought it had to be bacon. Gf had the eggplant ala Grecque, which was plated as a mini tower – unusual, in that it comes from the “wood burning oven” section of the menu. The eggplant was a bit underdone, but she enjoyed it all the same. My (New England?) bollito misto was very good. The veal cheek was spot on, the breast maybe a tad overdone, and the beef not boiled but rather a bit of the very tasty grilled hangar steak. But man, the cotechino – juicy, fatty, perfectly seasoned. Just excellent. The accompanying salsa verde was well-made and a smart, delicious complement to this dish. The Barbera was another good suggestion here.

For dessert, I had two Virginia cheeses: Everona Dairy’s sheep’s milk offering was aged to dry flavorlessness. The Meadow Creek taleggio, on the other hand, was full of body and most enjoyable.

Service was prompt, pleasant, well-informed, and efficient. The only gaffe involved my ham starter, which arrived nearly 10 minutes after the salads were served. In that service seemed to run so smoothly all around us, it had to be some mishap in the kitchen. The dish was presented with an apology and a promise to “take care of it,” and it was.

I think level of cooking here is surprisingly high for the prices being charged. I’d recommend it in an instant and hope myself to return soon.

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A few of my friends and I had a very good meal at Liberty Tavern a few days ago. My wife had the Tavern salad which was superb. Fresh, beautiful looking lettuce, nicely dressed. She enjoyed it. I had the Clarendon chopped salad. Not my favorite. It was under-dressed and the taste of the romaine/iceberg lettuce really overpowered the salad. It tasted, well like, raw lettuce. My one friend ordered the soup special which was a cream and roasted vegetable soup. The soup was nice, a bit too creamy, but tasty nonetheless.

We seriously enjoyed the rolls they brought out with the appetizers. So good. We ate two baskets of them in minutes. Hot and delicious. And served with room temperature butter - hooray, (I hate bricks of frozen butter). They also brought out bread with the rolls which wasn't nearly as good. We all agreed we would go back and just eat the rolls if we could.

For mains I ordered the Garganelli. It was rather good. It was served in a small cast iron skillet. It was about 1,000 degrees when served and needed literally 20 minutes to cool down before I could eat it. But when at the appropriate temperature, it was nice. It had a nice smoky flavor from the pancetta and was very cheesy. I enjoyed it.

My friend had the classico pizza. I thought it was rather good and everyone enjoyed tasting it. It was not as good as 2 amys or American Flatbread but was an enjoyable alternative - the crust was sweet (which I don't mind), the crust was crisp, the toppings were hot. It was good. I'd go back for the pizza and grab a salad and it would make a nice inexpensive meal for the wife and I.

My wife had the gnocchi. These were fabulous. Tiny, little, tender, fluffy gnocchi in the most wonderful mushroom butter sauce. We could have eaten plates of then. I nearly ate all of the wife's gnocchi but got yelled at. In my mind, this was the perfect fall dish and the best dish of the evening.

My other friend ordered the roasted eggplant entree. The first one served was very cold so we sent it back. The manager came over, introduced himself, apologized and handled the issue perfectly - a rarely-seen feat in the DC culinary world, a textbook example on how to deal with restaurant patrons. The manager brought my friend a soup as she waited for a new entree and a new entree was served promptly. I was extremely impressed with the management working that evening - someone went to a good restaurant management school ala Cornell or UNLV. As for the entree itseld, the second eggplant entree that was served and was much hotter. The entree looked good but I didn't have a taste. It was a very nice presentation of thin eggplant slices surrounding a very dense goat cheese core. My friend enjoyed it.

For dessert we had the house made ice cream and the red velvet cake. The ice cream had a nice smooth texture and creamy taste, but I found the chocolate ice cream had that "off" chocolate flavor, very reminiscent of Breyer's chocolate ice cream. The red velvet cake was also very good and had a tasty cream cheese frosting.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal. The food was fresh, flavorful and priced well. The management is superb. I'll be back again soon.

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A couple Saturday's ago, I stopped into The Liberty Tavern prime-time evening, and I felt like I had walked into The Vous in College Park - to make "a lap," you had to turn sideways, shuffle and squeeze, and inch your way through the crowd. I left after five minutes.

The next night, I returned and got an Adam's Linguica pizza ($12), made with crushed (i.e. canned) tomatoes, mozzerella, housemade linguica sausage, and oregano. This sounds really appealing, but the pizza is flawed, and here's why:

Linguica is a Portuguese pork sausage, typically more mild than Spanish chorizo. It's usually made with sauteed onions and garlic, and a little paprika. But this homey version was very granular, and came across as something North African, perhaps Moroccan, and seemed laced with cumin and other assertive spices (I don't really think there was cumin in there, but it "seemed" like there was). As a result, it completely overwhelmed the fresh mozzerella, and as much as I hate to say it, made the cheese completely irrelevant to the pizza; a sausage of this machismo demands something more aggresive, perhaps a tangy goat, or even a mild blue, but definitely not fresh mozzerella, which is one of the most subtle and delicate of cheeses.

The oven, from what I can see walking by the side street, is gas-burning on the right side, with a marblish-looking stone covering the bottom. Though I don't know the technical details of it, I suspect this isn't as hot as a traditional wood-burning oven with a metal bottom, and this might explain why the crust is quite good, but not jump-up-and-down bubbly-charred good. The two pizzas I've had here have surprised me with their quality, but they just haven't bowled me over, and I keep thinking that they're only two-hundred-degrees and a fermenting-crust away from doing so - I wonder if the owners regret not buying a better oven?

Nitpicks aside, another good experience at The Liberty Tavern, the bartender friendly and helpful, the beer perfectly fine.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Went to Liberty Tavern for the first time last week and had a positive experience. While we were not going because it was RW, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the entire menu was available. My wife had the mussels and I had the Duck Confit, the mussels in a spicy tomato sauce were excellent. The Duck was perfectly tender with a nice crisp skin. This is the best confit I have had in a long time; this is something that I will order again. For dinner my wife had the gnocchi with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms and I had hanger steak, which was served with baked beans, and braised market greens. The gnocchi dish was a perfect combination of fresh ingredients that worked well together. The gnocchi were light and carried the sage brown butter sauce very well. It was a nice dish for a winter evening. The hanger steak was served as ordered. The meat was tender and flavorful. The other components of the dish were prepared well, however their flavors distracted from the flavor of the meat itself. It was almost too much going on the plate for me we had the benefit of sitting near the kitchen and were able to watch all the food coming out. The food looked amazing at it whipped by. I am pretty amazed at the portion sizes very generous for the prices. we were impressed with Liberty, the service and food were excellent. We look forward to gong back for another visit soon.

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We paid another visit to Liberty tonight and had another good experience with both the food and service. I had the duck confit appetizer, which I had it on my first visit and loved thankfully it was the same tonight. Perfectly crisp skin with tender flavorful meat underneath. It is served with a small frisee salad with light vinaigrette, which offers a great flavor and texture contrast. My wife had the mussels, which she described as very good. I had the Duroc Pork chop, which was served with mushrooms and corn pudding. The chop was served as ordered and was well seasoned and juicy. The balance between the seasoning and the sauce, (smoked ham, honey- milk jus) was perfect. It did not get in the way of the flavor of the meat. The mushrooms were nicely sautéed and worked well with the dish. The wife had the skate special, which was served with fingerling potatoes, sautéed shrimp and hazelnut butter. The dish was well presented and the flavor combinations worked well together. The fish was tender and flavorful and perfectly cooked.

The place was full, in both the bar and the dining room and the service was excellent, attentive and well covered. The food and great service makes this a place we will be adding to our rotation. This is one of the best restaurants in Clarendon in my opinion and is worthy of a visit.

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