I like to say I sleep in Arlington. As in, I go there to pass out, and spend the other 20 hours of my day in the District. For me to visit a bar or restaurant on this side of the Potomac, it takes an epic snowstorm. Or a motorcycle. Because who wants to ride a motorcycle in DC traffic? Nah, if I’m heading to brunch on the back of a bike, we’re heading for the open roads of Virginia. So we went to Clarendon. Ha!
My dad, Papa Love (which is, by the way, the best parental moniker ever, if I do say so myself), stopped by the DC area last Saturday on his way up to Canada. A lifelong trials-riding-motorcycle-engineer-gear-head genius, he frequently takes these epic motorcycling trips across various countries. Last year he cycled from Southern Spain, up through the Pyrenees, and into Italy. Next year he’s riding from Florida through the Gulf Shore, Texas, Mexico and Central America down to Brazil. This time he was off with his buddy to do a tour of Canada. And DC was a pit stop along the way.
Of course, this pit stop was on a Saturday, so it involved brunch with Daughter Love. So from the back of his Triumph I directed him to The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon. I figured this was a fitting locale because A. we wouldn’t have to battle DC traffic and B. any place with “tavern” in the name is a place I wouldn’t mind traipsing into with helmet hair. We sped down the George Washington Memorial Parkway, up Wilson Boulevard, and parked the bike right around the back of the restaurant. I love riding. It’s a thrill I can’t put into words.
We snagged a table outdoors (on the most gorgeous of Saturdays) and settled in for a big buffet. But, alas, the Tavern’s faboosh buffet brunch, which I sampled once before and loved, is only on Sundays! I was disappointed, until I discovered how interesting the spring lunch menu is.
Papa Love, being a veggie, went for the split pea puree, which is made with crème fraiche and topped with chives. He followed that up with the roasted spring vegetable sandwich, filled with basil pesto, crème fraiche and pickled shallots on Italian bread. Looked so yum (and he said it was, but I was too wrapped up in my food to even try it).
I dug into a fresh tavern salad, made with Irwin petit greens, black radish, frisee, and topped with red wine vinaigrette. Then I made the leap for one of Liberty’s wood oven fired pizzas. Because, if there’s a wood oven, why wouldn’t you get one of the pizzas? I tried the Italian fennel sausage pie, which is topped with crushed tomato, mozzarella, fontina, and basil. Great for lunch, and even better as leftovers later that night.
I have to hand it to executive chef Liam Lacivita. They call it a tavern, but this isn’t tavern food. All the bread, fresh pastas, and sausages are made in-house by the chefs—and you can tell. The food is fresh, delicious, and perfectly portioned. And the service is friendly and laid back. No need for rezzies here.
The bitches say: Solid A. Good food, chill atmosphere, nice Arlington locale. Can’t beat that.
The Liberty Tavern
3195 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201