The Liberty Tree
1016 H Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Monday – Friday 5pm – 10pm
Saturday – Sunday 11am – 10pm
The restaurant scene on H Street has been expanding at a break neck pace. Distinguished expansion has marked this area, providing restaurant choices that stray a bit from the run-of-the-mill entries found in other parts of D.C. The Liberty Tree continues this trend, blending a more sophisticated space with the carefree, youthful underpinnings of the Atlas District.
Chef Craig Glufling and Scott Hamilton, both of whom hail from the Boston area, started the Liberty Tree, with the intention of providing New England influenced cuisine to the Washington D.C. area. The name is a clear indication of this – the Liberty Tree is a reference to an elm three in Boston beneath which some American patriots protested the Stamp Act in 1765. Admittedly, I didn’t quite see the influence, but then again, I was only there for brunch. What I did see though was something different altogether.
I ordered two items: The Buttermilk pancakes with seasonal warm berry compote, and the Breakfast Pizza with Herb Butter, homefries, bacon, mozzarella, Sunnyside eggs, and Vermont maple syrup drizzle.
The pancakes were tender and soft, avoiding the plastic texture reminiscent of lesser establishments. Moreover, the crispy outer layer combined with the gooey buttermilk dough created a textural juxtaposition tailor-made for brunch. The berry compote garnish was chunky and fresh, acting more as cleansing element than a redefining ingredient.
The Breakfast Pizza was something else though. I had been told before going that ordering this pizza was essential. The idea of breakfast + pizza was baffling initially, but after the first bite everything made sense. Where do I begin? The Sunnyside egg was decadent, establishing a creamy base that was as absurd as it was refined. The imperfect pieces of homefries, followed by small shreds of crunchy bacon, were magical. Each morsel exploded with a dense flavor that played like a greatest hits of breakfast. The mozzarella oozed hand-in-hand with the herb butter, while the maple syrup wrapped up the experience with a tangy understated sweetness. All of this was spread out on an unobtrusive thin crust. The Breakfast Pizza had “guilty pleasure” written all over it. I felt wrong eating it but damn, did I ever enjoy it.
My interpretation of The Liberty Tree is definitely one-sided. Brunch plays only one small aspect of what The Liberty Tree strives for. But if my brunch is any indication, this place is worth visiting if you’re in the H Street area. Personally, I don’t think I would venture there unless I was in the area but otherwise; it is not to be missed, especially if you like your eggs on your pizza Sunnyside up.