Experience haute cuisine at an affordable price with a few unexpected twists at this atmospheric temple of cuisine that even has its own bakery. Photo by Mary Kelly.
Liberty Street Bistro
Opened: June 2016
$38 to $61 for 2- to 4-course meal; $54 to $85 with wine pairing
In a move that would make some restaurateurs feel faint, Michael Kelly, chef/owner of Liberty Street Bistro, recently removed a table from his restaurant, downsizing the seating from 48 to 46. “I wanted to create more room for my customers,” says the 2010 CIA graduate who has seen the restaurant evolve from his original concept of a casual, high-volume spot to something far more high-end. ”There are longer dinner times and lower volume, but in a good way,” says Kelly.
And so when you come here — whether on a date or with a group or to celebrate a special occasion, as so many do — expect to be enthralled for at least two hours, during which you will receive a procession of plates. A prix-fixe menu structured and priced around the number of courses — two, three, or four — helps declutter your mind because you won’t have so many choices. “We’ve taken away the table debate,” says Kelly. “It’s really just a matter of deciding how hungry you are. If you all decide you’re all going to get four courses, you’re probably going to diversify your selections so that everyone gets to try things. That’s really the best way to eat, to pass the plates around and have fun with your guests.” Make your choices even simpler and choose the wine pairing option.
As always, you can expect classic French fare like beef tartare with capers and foie gras torchons, as well as desserts with optional port pairings and the traditional cheese plate. “We didn’t want to scare people away with a super-funky menu,” says Kelly. “But now that a few years have passed, we’re a bit more adventurous.” He offers dishes utilizing ingredients inspired by his multi-ethnic staff— such as Muhammara, a Middle Eastern pepper spread, which he once served with an Austrian quark cheese. “It’s pretty cool,” says Kelly. “Those two things would normally not be combined with each other, but they really work. We just kind of roll with it and people are really loving it.”