I was at Libertad on Saturday, and I could not have asked for better service.
I arrived early (wha? huh?) and decided to spend some time at the bar while I waited for a friend. I ordered the Calabaza Borracha, made with their house-roasted pumpkin purée and el malpais mezcal reposado and jo snow cafe de olla (sorry, but I can't remember what these are) and a 7-spice rim. That was really nice, a little heavy on the anise for me, but a perfectly mixed drink that was neither too watered down or too strong, wonderful flavor, and a decent size. The bartenders were quite friendly and engaging, and didn't mind all my idiotic questions (what's this? what's that? is it a thick drink?) Our table was not ready at 7:15 per my reservation; I had no problem with this, but they comped our first round of drinks! I thought that was really generous, since we were only waiting about 10, maybe 15, minutes before they offered this.
Afterward, I don't know if this was an extra generous touch or not, but we received an amuse bouche—little demitasse cups of black bean soup. For some reason, the presentation really tickled me.
Our first course was the Camarones (see ronnie_suburban's picture above). I was not a fan of shrimp before this dish. First off, these shrimp were massive, global domination-size beasts, and they were tender like lobster. I loved the glaze; it was not too sweet and just a little spicy. It was a mess to eat, but I didn't care; I'm embarrassed to say I hesitated to get up and wash my sticky hands for fear that my friend would snag more than her fair share.
Second: Remolacha (roasted beets, watercress, Mandarin supremes, manchego cheese, sherry-truffle vinaigrette). Is there anything that manchego doesn't enhance? This was a delightful salad and I plan on recreating it at home. Though we questioned whether the beets were really roasted...I thought they may have been canned. They had a slight pickled taste. But then I put the thought out of my head because I realized I didn't care.
I think around this point I ordered another drink, the Spice & Ice (rum, lime, house ginger-habanero syrup, passion fruit, 7-spice rim). If you like spicy ginger beer, this would make your day. I think I'm going to take up drinking on the job, so if you see me on my lunch hour, please look the other way. It was a nice touch that they added a disc of fresh ginger to the bottom of the drink.
Third: Lomo (pork tenderloin, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, applewood smoked bacon, mezcal caramalized apples). This pork was quite rare, and thus, very tender and juicy and just fantastic; now I know I can make rare pork and not worry about E Coli or whatever the hell. After my bad experience making root vegetable soup not long ago, I couldn't really enjoy the purée as much as my friend. But the rest of this dish was incredible. I want to find Brussels Sprouts this tiny in stores.
Fourth: Tilapia (Peruvian potatoes, wild mushrooms, leeks, jicama, soy-lemongrass vinaigrette). This dish could only be described as buttery. At first, all I could think was "damn you, I could be eating mussels instead of chicken of the sea" but I was glad she ordered this one. Despite the buttery taste, nothing was greasy, and the dish was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat. Right before we ordered, our server came by to taunt us with the pumpkin risotto. It was so cute and looked so delicious that it was hard to choose. Sadly, we couldn't eat another entrée.
Dessert: We weren't really bowled over by the options—apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and carrot cake—but we couldn't think of another place in the area that was open for dessert besides Baker's Square, so we tried the pumpkin cheesecake. Unfortunately, I can't remember what came with it. There were two schmears of chocolate next to it, and at the end were two little bites of something that I just can't recall. It was a fine cheesecake, with a nice amount of spice and a gingersnap crust, if I'm not mistaken.
The price for all this was pretty reasonable. I can't wait until the next time I "forget" my lunch. I wonder how many of these plates I can get through on my own. I'm glad the Lunch Group® was able to order off the dinner menu, because I can't get that pumpkin risotto out of my head.
I assume Libertad has a seasonal menu? I can't find that information anywhere, but the current menu looks like something that will change at least by the time spring rolls around.
I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
There is no pie in Nighthawks
, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James NapoliLate-Nite Eats Database