Libby’s Café + Bar’s take on lunch is as whimsical as a children’s story book, satisfying cravings you never knew you had and tapping into taste buds that illuminate with each bite. It takes a true artist to make food playful. Often times, chefs try too hard to achieve this innocent flair and dishes end up with meddled flavors and gimmicky aesthetics. Chef Fran’s eclectic approach to food combines humor, comfort and elegance. Peculiar equation? Not in the slightest; the most imaginative and breathtakingly delicious food all to chose from over an hour lunch break, right on South Osprey Avenue.
Libby’s introduced its new menu for lunch, completely full of characters, all delicious and innovative. The class clown, quiet yet brilliant, over-achiever and many more that each play its own integral role in this story Chef Fran has so cleverly orchestrated in his kitchen.
The tail begins with Rolls that honor the form faltering and stomach pleasing appetizers that satisfy both palettes and waistlines. The Hamachi Rice Paper Roll is deliciously combined with fresh tuna, avocado, pickled ginger radish and ponzu aioli and is as light and airy as it seems. On the other end of the spectrum, the Reuben Egg Roll Wraps are partnered with ‘Rushin Dressing dipping sauce allows for the salty savory goodness of a classic Rueben in a sinless-esc three bite roll.
Small Plates are best described by the Crispy Red Lentil Quinoa Cakes topped with candied cashews and coconut curry aioli and the “Karubi” Pork Belly Ribs coated in honey wasabi bbq sauce and topped with housemade sweet apple kimchi. The quinoa cakes are rich with flavor and paired fabulously with the smoky yet mildly spiced coconut curry aioli. The “Karubi” might be one of the best things I have ever tasted, literally. The pork melts on your tongue and is balanced by the slight crispness of the apple kimchi that has a round and bold spiciness to it.
Let the story some to an end with the All Natural Bison Knife ‘N Fork Sloppy Joe with housemade pickles, melted jack cheese, ale battered onions, smoked onion aioli and house chips be the finish to this book. Or maybe the Italian Bacon ‘N Eggs, spaghetti with Parmesan cream, neuskie bacon, caramelized onions and topped with a sunny side egg. These two fanciful dishes are the old made new, made fun again. The Sloppy Joe is hearty, heavenly and oozing with cheese; made to be eaten by fork or scooped up in heaps with housemade potato chips. The anything with a runny egg and bacon is divine and paired with spaghetti and Parmesan cream is no exception.