100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Liberty Tavern

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The Sunday brunch spread at Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Virginia. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

About Liberty Tavern

Cost:

Location(s)
3195 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Some restaurants are all about grand statements. Others, like
this sophisticated Clarendon bistro, communicate in striking
details.

The bread basket not only resurrects a forgotten piece of
Americana—anadama bread, a wondrous union of cornmeal and molasses—but
comes with butter bearing perfectly deposited flakes of fleur de
sel.
Ethiopian coffee is served French-press-style—with a timer to let
you know when it’s properly steeped.

The menu is informed by the dual identities of chef Liam
LaCivita’s education as an Italian in New England—wood-fired pizzas,
garlic bread with provolone, lots of seafood. His smart embellishments
vault his dishes above mere comfort food: Mussels are ramped up with
smoked-tomato broth and fennel pollen, onion rings are fried in duck fat,
and branzino is made sumptuous with cauliflower purée and creamed oranges.
Don’t miss: Pasta fagioli soup; smoked salmon
with potato fritters; crispy shrimp and Ipswich clams; Vermont pizza
(cheddar, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and apples); tagliatelle with
beef-veal-and-pork ragu; roast chicken with mashed-potato gratin; potato
champ (Irish mashed potatoes) with bacon; Coca-Cola cake. Open: Monday
through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and
dinner. Moderate.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.