Vegging Out at Liberty…

By Kathryn Matthews

…is not top-of-mind for most who come here.

At the newish Liberty Public House in Rhinebeck, the red, white and blue-themed décor is eye-catching and fun.  And, on a menu that salutes Americana favorites, the “Liberty Burger with Freedom Fries” gets a whole lot of love.

Sliders? Hot wings?  Liberty’s late night menu (we passed)

As I recount in my RHO review−−the burger, itself, is tasty enough.  The beef patty, sandwiched along with melted Manchego cheese, lettuce and sliced pickle in a soft, squishy, sesame-seeded, white bun, with a side of ketchup is eerily reminiscent of a Big Mac−albeit with real meat.  There are other such retro-themed reincarnations, including Buffalo rock shrimp with blue cheese dip, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, and fettucini Alfredo—comfort food that ventures into precariously high sodium territory.  As it did with the much touted “Freedom fries”, which Christopher and I found greasy and overly salty.

What I did find unexpectedly appealing and savory, however, contained not a whit of meat: the “stuffed yellow pepper”—even more surprising since I don’t particularly care for bell peppers.  What I tasted was… 

Liberty’s Stuffed Yellow Bell Pepper YES!!

… an Old World-style veg loaf that would have made pioneer vegetarians, like Molly Katzen, author of “The Moosewood Cookbook” series, proud.  It was hearty, filling and comforting.

When I ordered the stuffed pepper, I requested “no added salt”.

Another YES!! to Liberty’s Endive & Watercress salad…

What the server set down before me looked like meat loaf.  A whole roasted yellow pepper had been split.  Each large half, generously stuffed with toasted quinoa, walnuts and herbs, rested in a pool of creamy tomato-cauliflower puree. The combination of nutty crunch and warm, soothing puree left me feeling sated and satisfied.  If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this is the dish for you.

Lovers of leafy greens, take note: the endive and watercress salad with fennel, pomegranate seeds and ruby red grapefruit is winsome: bright, zesty with delicate crunch and zing. Liberty Public House on Urbanspoon

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