Liberty Station American Tavern & Smokehouse is the newest concept from the team behind North Scottsdale favorite Market Street Kitchen.
There are numerous “hidden-gem” restaurants in the peaceful, uncongested area of Scottsdale north of the 101. In the northernmost area, where Scottsdale Road becomes Tom Darlington Road, Liberty Station American Tavern & Smokehouse appears destined to join the list of restaurants with a devoted following.
The inside of the restaurant is cozy and comfortable. There are two patios – one covered – that considerably increase the seating capacity. The bar has a garage-style door that opens to allow patio bar seating. It is the kind of place where you feel right at home the first time you join them. Underneath the covered patio, in an area separated by glass so you can watch the magic happen, sits “Big Papi”; the beautiful 500-gallon smoker custom-made for Liberty Station by Camelback Smokers.
Liberty Station head mixologist Garrit Guthrie has created a craft cocktail menu that features classic drinks but also highlights some modern trends. The Desert Rosé with Tito’s, Lillet Rosé, simply syrup and a lemon peel is a personal favorite. Tart and bright, it will make for an excellent summer cocktail. They also have four “Liberty Mules”, each featuring a different liquor. There is craft beer on tap and currently about twenty wines to choose from.
Liberty Station serves upscale American comfort food, focusing on a few different popular styles. Some of the menu is inspired by owner Paul Keeler’s New England heritage. Steak and seafood selections are prominently featured as well. Of course, the smoker is put to good use with multiple options and is manned by Chef de Cuisine Dan Watts, who came from Keeler’s Omaha, Nebraska restaurant, Spencer’s for Steak and Chops.
The “Shareables” section of the menu includes a house herbed ricotta with tomato jam, honey and crostini. The herbed ricotta is so creamy and tasty – almost like a whipped butter – you will find yourself putting it on any piece of bread within reach. Another highlight is the Drunken Prince Edward Island Mussels. The broth has tender chunks of smoked pork and they use Four Peaks Kilt Lifter to “intoxicate” the clean, fresh Mussels. In the “Soup & Salad” department, the New England Clam Chowder does Keeler’s ancestry proud. The texture is perfect and you find yourself hoping to never see the bottom of the bowl.
The entrees are split up into three sections, the “Mains”, items “From the Smoker” and four steak selections. Immediately upon tasting the Sam Adams Beer-battered Boston Cod Fish & Chips, you will think of your fish fry-loving friends from the Midwest (or apparently, Boston) who have been craving an authentic, flaky, tempura-style fish fry. It is rich and earthy, but the short rib is tender and delicate so it is well-balanced.
For as good and varied as the rest of the menu is, it’s likely Liberty Station will make their name and fame through the smoked meats that arise from the aforementioned “Big Papi”. You have five different choices including the Texas Brisket, which has two portions of “lean” brisket and one portion of “moist” brisket. The meat falls off the bone and the seasoning is addictive. You also get your choice of two sides with any of the smoked selections.
Liberty Station American Tavern & Smokehouse is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. For more information and to view all the menus, visit libertystationtavern.com.