William's Landing, 120 Lynn Williams Street
This bar and grill is the village's newest addition. So new that last week's visit saw wet paint signs and a ton of construction still under way. The menu stresses local, fresh and organic which isn't a new concept and quite frankly should just be a given but nonetheless we are still seeing restaurants riding the coat tails of these buzz words. We skip lunch as the space just feels too incomplete.
Our server recommends the Bloody Caesar because it's "killer". It is not. It lacks spice despite the hot pepper that swims at the top. The addition of basil leaves makes it taste like tomato sauce. The beer list is respectable so we stick to that. A few pints in, we share the 'Liberty dip'. It's hummus with ancho chillies, feta, avocado crema and pico de gallo. The dip itself is underwhelming and the chips are over seasoned and the flat bread stale. The highlight is the patio. It's spacious and provides a great view of the historic buildings of Liberty Village. A great place for some sunshine and a cold beer.
The Liberty Belle Bistro, 133 Jefferson Avenue
This tiny bistro is tres cute. A small patio in front provides refuge from King Street and is a great spot to enjoy some wine and classic French food. A strong attention to detail is evident in everything from the 1920's postcard menus to the black and white tiled floor to the stalls in the washrooms. You have to see the washrooms. The women's has wooden stall doors with velvet curtains and complimentary fem products while the men's stall door is made from an antique refrigerator door. I hate to talk about toilets but it's not often that you are pleasantly surprised by them.
Like the space, the menu is also small. The french onion soup is cheesy with just the right amount of crouton and onions. The broth is rich and cloudy. A steak tartar is under seasoned but finely diced. It needs cornichons. The braised short rib is the opposite and is way over salted. The accompanying mushroom risotto is the correct consistency and full of the kind of woodsy'ness you expect from mushrooms.
Definitely worth a visit.