Thursday, August 8, 2013

#15: Liberte Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel

If I was meeting a friend for dinner and drinks on a Tuesday night, I would most likely not choose to go to a hotel bar. There are enough great restaurants and bars in the city that I don't feel a need to sit in a hotel lounge. But, apparently the Center City District thought it would be a good idea to give me 7 hotel bar gift certificates. In an effort to start using some of these, I chose to go to the Sofitel Hotel bar last night with my friend Colleen. I had been to this lounge about 6 months prior when my parents stayed at the Sofitel after a night out in the city. I didn't really remember too much about the place, must have been the chardonnay haze that night. However, last night when we walked in I was pleasantly surprised. The lounge just gave off a very cozy and comfortable vibe. We chose to sit in the bar area, not the dining area. We sat in two big lounge chairs with a small table in between. It was exactly what we were looking for- a perfect environment to chat and catch up on life.

The waitress we had was the most proper woman I have ever met in my life. After we ordered our wine she said "Could you ladies please provide me with your identification cards when I return with your wine?" At first I was like, what is she talking about? She was dressed in a knee length black, long sleeved dressed and her hair pulled back into a tight bun. She also said "bon appetit" a lot. Really pushing the French impression here.

Instead of the typical bread before meal fashion, we were given salted almonds and wasabi  beans. The almonds were just amazing. I knew from the first almond that I was going to love the food here (is that weird?) It was a nice variation pre-meal.

We were provided 2 menus, 1 bar menu and 1 dining menu. Luckily we were able to mix & match and order off both. We kind of went all out with appetizers. I figured that since we were ordering off the bar menu for our meals, that it would be a stretch to get to $50 so appetizers were acceptable (..boy was I wrong). I was very intrigued by the Kale Chips that were on the bar menu. They indicated on the menu that contained 0 calories. Everyone recently raves about kale, but I've never tried it. Mostly because it intimidates me. You look like lettuce, but you're not. So since kale is 'in' and I like chips, we ordered them. For some reason I expected them to look like potato chips, but no go. It looked like a spring mix salad but it was crunchy. We were a bit confused by the concept, but we ate them. They basically tasted like salt and olive oil. Fine by me. We also ordered 'Pan Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels' to start. They were covered in lemon-saffron sauce with tomatoes and onions. Really, really good. I approved.

For our meals we both ordered sandwiches off the bar menu. I ordered the Salmon Sliders and Colleen got the Marinated Swordfish Wrap. The salmon sliders were delicious. Although there were only 2 sliders and a side salad, it was enough for me. Probably because of the appetizers. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm a mayo fan and the green onion mayonnaise on the toasted brioche was great (how many 'ews' are sounding throughout my followers circle right now?). Colleen's swordfish wrap was good, nothing special. She said it would have used some more flavor, maybe just a little salt & pepper. The wrap was filled with avocado, tomatoes & baby arugula with citrus aioli.

Now on to the bill....For some reason I was in disbelief that the bill was $100. From now on I will never complain about an $85 check. When you break it down and realize that you each order 2 glasses of wine at $12 a pop, it makes sense. All in all, we each paid $35 with tip so it really wasn't thaaat bad. I was really pleased with everything that I ate at the Liberte Lounge. I would highly recommend this place- and it looks like they have good happy hour specials from 5-7pm. I can also attest that this place is pretty bumpin' on a Friday night.

37 more to hit! Bon Appetit!

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