Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back for brunch

Thats right, Apples it back. The exact terms of my contract are still
up in the air-- Facebook might describe it as "complicated." But such
is life. The food is more important.

The Courthouse/Clarendon area is one abundant with brunch options
(although none of them open quite early enough for the obsessively
early-risers who are Apples and Bananas). After examining our options
this morning, we passed over Mexicali Blues (too beany), Tallula (done
that, liked it, want to try something else) and Summers (nixed pretty
quickly) to try Liberty Tavern, a new neighborhood spot getting good
reviews by the Washington Post, among others. We had vowed to try the
funky pizzas there-- and Ant refuses to post about LT until he gets
his paws on a pie-- but its early hours (brunch starts at 10) gave it
the edge among the Wilson strip pack.

The cool, crisp, and chic-ly rustic interior of Liberty Tavern is
welcoming and clean; I imagine that the bar, complimented by leather
couches and a long, high table edged with bar stools, gets hopping at
night. We were the first customers in for brunch this morning though,
and chose to sit at a high 4-top looking out over the sidewalk.
People-watching is the best. We both started with grapefruit juice,
and enjoyed complimentary cinnamon-raisin bread with soft whipped
butter-- the bread was cool and a touch dry, but a welcome nibble.
LT's brunch menu, like most, is fairly limited, and populated mostly
by variations on eggs and toast. Ant chose the "2 eggs with Johnny
cakes and breakfast sausage," a deliciously up-scale version of your
basic diner breakfast classic. His over-easy eggs were perfectly
runny, and well-suited to moisten up the slightly-dry but sweet and
yummy Johnny cakes, which look and taste more like mini-cornbread
muffins than anything else. The sausage was two spicy, sage-infused
balls of meaty goodness, which I loved but which Ant would have
preferred sweeter. We agreed it would be great on pizza or pasta. All
this was accompanied by a lovely fruit salad of fresh berries and
melon. For $9, it seemed like a steal to me.

I ordered less wisely-- the Spanish-style egg tortilla, with fried
potatoes, roasted peppers, and goat cheese called to my hungry tummy
with its promise of grease and carbs. The tortilla arrived in a little
cast-iron skillet, the kind that makes everything in it look cute and
rustic. Tasting primarily of over-cooked egg and caramelized onion,
the yellowy grey mess was topped with very good, but unfortunately
scant, crumbles of goat cheese. The roasted peppers turned out to be
green chilies lurking at the bottom of the pan, and the potatoes,
while apparent, mostly melted into the eggy background. My tortilla
would have been much improved by the inclusion of some tomatoes, or
some sort of green herb... anything to give it a little color and zip.
Even a small side of fruit or greens would have been appreciated.

Overall, Liberty Tavern is a cool place. I dig their music, and their
decor, and the menu, in general. I can't wait to go back for real
dinner sometime, to taste the pizza and the other non-egg options. The
service was fine, the location is excellent, and the menu holds a lot
of promise.

The Liberty Tavern

3195 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

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