The libertine is closed.
I just can't stay away from The Libertine, can I? In my defense, this was the first time I'd gone for a 'normal' meal (meaning no special event or Fried Chicken Sunday) since November, which is kind of crazy. Speaking of crazy, I kicked things off not with a standard cocktail, but instead a challenge to our bartender for the evening, Nate. Give me something with tequila, said I. He provided me a delicious drink, followed by a few more, and because of that, I can give you no details on what was in them. All I can say is that I enjoyed them and they were potent.
Friday night at the Libertine means the pork gratons are available. The gratons are squares of pork belly that are fried and then tossed into a brown paper bag full of Cajun seasoning. Very healthy!
Crispy Pig Tails. I love them. You know that. Get them.
I don't often get the Bread, but when I saw on chef Galliano's Instagram that he had made a fig and fennel loaf, the decision was made for me. Great aniseed flavor, great tiny oar used to divvy up butter.
When this dish hit the table, I was trying to figure out what ravioli I ordered. Unsure of what it was, I cut into it and took a bite. Ah, it's the Michigan Raclette! A thin slice of raclette cheese was laid over a fried potato, served alongside a garlic puree and green apple mustard. Undoubtedly the most elegant version of the Swiss staple I've ever seen; if you're into German/Swiss/Austrian food, you should enjoy this.
A special for the evening were Brandade Fritters, which translates to salt cod fish sticks. I loved them. Salty, fishy goodness.
Another off the menu item was the Onaga Poke. Raw onaga was diced and served alongside white soy pearls, elderflower vinegar, and a burnt citrus sauce. It served as a nice palate cleanser after all the cheese and fried pork I'd already consumed.
You remember my Dinner Lab by Josh Poletti post? That mouthwatering octopus dish made its way on to The Libertine's menu. [symple_highlight color="blue"]Grilled Octopus[/symple_highlight] served over an nduja potato salad and semi-dried tomatoes, with a smattering of basil powder.
A celebrity sighting! It's fellow St. Louis food writer Scott Thomas of GrillinFools. Shockingly, he was eating grilled meat.
Months ago, The Libertine's menu featured a Stinging Nettles gnocchi that was sublime. As I chatted with Scott at the table next to us, some food angel brought us out some nettle dumplings that were just as good. I even went so far as to steal one from another person at the table.
Knowing how much pork I was going to be eating, I picked the Onaga Piccata for my main. Perfectly cooked fish served with gnocchi, cauliflower puree, and a browned-butter caper sauce. All the flavors of your traditional piccata modernized a bit. I really enjoyed it.
As good as the fish was, I found myself jealous of my sister. She picked the evening's special, Newman Farm pork leg pastrami with yellow mustard spaetzle and sauerkraut cracklins. Without a doubt, the dish of the night.
We got two veggie dishes for the table to try to counterbalance the heavy pork dosage. The first is the Merguez spiced broccoli, which I did not get to try. Since it didn't even make its way to my end of the table, I'm assuming it was good. They were served with panisse, black garlic vinaigrette, and celery-garbanzo relish.
The second were the sweet and salty General Tso's oyster mushrooms, made with bourbon barrel soy sauce, benne seeds, and pea shoots.
Here lies St. Louis' most decadent cheeseburger, the Diner Burger. A local beef patty is topped with housemade bacon, caramelized onions, and cheese 'whiz', all on a bacon bun. I can't say enough about the cheese whiz. I wish I had it in my fridge at all times. I would put it on EVERYTHING.
That little ramekin at the back of the tray is a mix of said whiz and their hot sauce. That on the fries? Pure joy.
Clayton, MO 63105