Libertine Brunch Doesn't Quite Deserve The Guillotine

Photos by Andrea Grimes and Man O' The Hour
The Libertine's olive-garnished Bloody Mary.
Long a haven for Lower Greenvillers who like to be able to hear themselves think and their friends speak, the Libertine bar is one of the neighborhood's stand-out spots in terms of food, drink and atmosphere. The seating's cozy, the beers are plentiful, and their flavored vodkas are a great alternative for those feeling a bit too heavy for a pint. The mac 'n cheese--oh please, there is no better dish for soaking up booze. Except maybe the Libertine cheese plate ... and the steak au jus sandwich.

So what the hell happened yesterday morning at brunch, Libertine? I thought I knew you. I thought we had something. I thought it was special. I thought it would be reasonable to assume that I'd be served properly cooked eggs. That the Bloody Marys would be consistently garnished. That when I ordered smoked salmon, it wouldn't taste like a frozen Kroger fish fillet.

Libertine, it's not that I'm mad. I'm disappointed.

Poor presentation on the Libertine smoked salmon Benedict.
Well, let's back up--let's talk about the good times. Remember the time, yesterday morning, when I ordered a Bloody Mary and it was just $2.50 and it was made with Zing Zang? Those times were so great! You were so funny and adorable then, Libertine. Your Bloody Marys were extremely spicy! And tangy! And the second time around, our server even remembered to garnish our beverages with a couple of olives. It woulda been great to have those olives during the first round, but whatever, everybody is forgetful sometimes.

Like the colors of the American flag, this egg doesn't run.
Trouble is, how did the kitchen staff forget that poached eggs shouldn't be cooked through, solid? How did it slip someone's mind that Hollandaise should be bright yellow, not a watery ecru? And who confused delicious, juicy smoked salmon with a flaky, frozen-tasting fillet? I ordered the smoked salmon eggs Benedict, but what I got was an overcooked egg drizzled with melted butter over a thin biscuit, with a couple potato chunks thrown over on the side as an afterthought. It looked and tasted like something I might cook up on my own after a couple Bloody Marys. I expected so much more, Libertine.

World's Greatest Sandwich?
It may go without saying, then, that calling a dish the "World's Greatest Sandwich" is also a bad move if your kitchen's unclear on the basics. Man O' The Hour called his sammy a "great egg-soaked BLT" but longed instead for Bolsa's egg sandwich, which makes no claims to greatness but, in fact, is. The bacon was a bit crispy, but MOTH says the potatoes were a particular disappointment. Says they were "tough, like they'd been out a while." Considering we got there around 11:30, seems a bit early for things to be getting stale.

The cheap and tasty brunch drinks--champagne cocktails are also on special, in addition to the Bloody Marys--make the Libertine a fine destination for those looking to booze and nibble, in that order. Settling a two-drinks-and-food bar tab for around $15 apiece certainly made the MOTH and I happy. But maybe save the serious eating for the evenings. Brunch is only served on Sundays, which perhaps explains the kitchen's inconsistencies. Practice makes perfect, and if the Libertine needs someone to sacrifice herself for the good of the restaurant, I am happy to volunteer. Vive l'egalite, fraternite, tasty eggs and all that.

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes

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