Let me just say that a year ago, I would not have even attempted to eat at The Libertine because the selection of food is not your typical restaurant. You have to be open minded or at least adventurous when dining here or you might not enjoy it. I am very thankful for my new willingness to try new dishes, and am always happy after I try something new. If you are like I was, I hope my blog encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the wonderful food that is out there.
We made reservations because it is a very happening spot in Clayton. Saturday morning when I made the reservations, 7 pm was already taken, so we had to make it a little earlier.
Joe and I were the first ones there and by first ones I mean first two customers of the night lol. I had Joe take pictures of me out front for a few minutes--well, until I got the shot I was somewhat happy with haha.
We sat at the bar while we waited for Zac and Demi, and ordered a cocktail to start. I ordered Joe a Tom Waits for No Man, and he ordered me a Mick Jagger's Jet. We will occasionally order for each other to push each other a little out of our comfort zone, and also to see how well we know each other's tastes. We both did very well this time. My drink was perfectly refreshing, with gin, maraschino, grapefruit pink peppercorn shrub (housemate), and peppermint mist. It was garnished with mint leaves! We asked what shrub was because we had never heard of it, and it is basically soda infused with fruits or herbs and it adds clarity to cocktails as well. Joe loved his drink as well; anything that resembles a Manhattan is right up his alley. The Tom Waits for No Man had whiskey, sweet vermouth, fernet amaro, and bitters.
As you can see from the pictures, The Libertine is not a large restaurant, and it has a modern rustic feel to it. Soft blues and gray walls and old-fashioned pieces of artwork hung on the walls.
We were seated as soon as Zach and Demi arrived. The menu was hard for me to figure out lol. There was no spot for appetizers or entrées. It was all mixed in together. I felt silly but I asked our server how to read the menu. Once she explained it to me, it was much easier to follow. It was great because there was not a lot to choose from, but it was also not great because of that reason! Having smaller selection made it very easy to decide what to get :).
We were brought the complimentary starter. It was fried garbanzo beans sprinkled with pork powder! It was tasty!!
We started out with the Smörgâsbord. We were all in complete awe when it come out. So many meats. We happily dug in. The sauces that were paired with it were incredible. It had Chinese bacon, Italian Bacon, sausage, and so many other meats. Who knew there was a Chinese Bacon? None of us did lol. Our only criticism of this massive platter was to have more cheese on it, and less of the meat like the head cheese (which is a meat!). If you have an acquired taste for head cheese, you would love this board!!!
For our entrees:
Zac ordered the Three Little Birds, a square layered with quail, hen, and chicken served with a carrot-miso purée and rice grits, snow peas and carrots. It was tender and juicy.
Joe ordered a Lamb Loin dish (special of the evening). The lamb had a quinoa breading on the outside of it, and was cooked to perfection. Joe really enjoyed it.
I ordered the Tajine, which was Mahi-mahi with a black olive purée (the polka dots), shaved celery radishes, herb Chermoulah, and sprouted grains. Chermoulah is commonly a mixture of herbs, oils, pickled lemons, and garlic. I loved my dish the most, and everyone else really enjoyed my dish too. The fish was falling apart and the flavors were just delicious together.
Josh Gilliano brought our food to the table! Joe nudged me and told me it was Josh. He heard him say his name at the table next to us. We all chatted excitedly about it as we were trying our dishes. Our server came over to check on us, and heard us talking about Josh. It turns out that our server was Josh's wife! OH MY GOSH!!!!! It was so neat talking to her! We found out that she helps Josh sometimes bake the desserts, and helped make the Strawberry Kuchen that morning.
So after our entrées, we ordered dessert. Even though we were full, we wanted to try at least a few of them.
Maple Budino, coffee tuile (thin crisp wafer), maple ginger gastrique (caramelized sugar with vinegar and sometimes wine) and donut ice cream! This was everyones absolute favorite! The donut ice cream should be sold in stores. Actual donuts are put in a container with nitrogen until they shatter into a billion pieces and then added to the ice cream. It was heavenly.
Strawberry Kuchen! It is like a pie and cake combined with strawberries. It was Demi's favorite. They even said, as long as she calls in advance, they would sell her a whole pie.
Banana Pudding, Nilla Meringue, roasted bananas, and peanut burnt honey ice cream. It was really good! We kept wondering where the vanilla wafers were lol, until we released it was in the meringue. It was definitely a unique twist to banana pudding!
By the time we finished all of the desserts, we were all stuffed. We cleaned house with the desserts.
The Libertine was everything I thought it would be and more! We would definitely go back, and our friends would as well! If you are willing to try new dishes and foods outside of your comfort zone, The Libertine should absolutely be on your list of places to try.
Until our next double date,
PS. We are thinking Kreis' Restaruant or Kar'is Surf n Loin. Stayed tuned to see where we go!