Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Photo By Linda Salinas

Linda Salinas noticed this mysterious black sticker located at the bottom of Liberty Kitchen’s front door. Placed in the center of this circle sits none other than a you-are-banned-so-don’t-even-think-about-it sticker stating this is the status of Houston Chronicle’s food critic, Alison Cook. Gasp.

Owner-chef Lance Fegen’s decision to ban Cook from Liberty Kitchen is taking ridiculous to an extreme. Her comments in a semi recent review of Fegen’s other restaurant, BRC (Big Red Cock), clearly did not possess enough rainbows & sunshine for him to unwind. Relax guy. Just like Arturo’s drama at Uptown Park, sometimes restaurant owners just need a hug.

After a frightening experience at Liberty Kitchen this past weekend, Alison Cook should send this scary sticker ordering owner a box of chocolate attached to a thank you note for banning her. Torture began soon after passing the hostess stand in search of an available seat in the bar.

While sitting at the bar for fifteen minutes, life became painful. There was no hello. No menu. No drink. No yada. Nothing. After years of bartending & waiting tables, “my service is sucking” philosophy is this: There is no way flagging down a service industry worker for anything is ever going to happen.

While waiting for the exact moment someone sucking will notice, intelligent people eating in a restaurant, or desperately trying to, will evaluate the situation before professing the bartenders in question are the special for the evening. Are they slammed? This takes care of the rest. Slammed fits the category of front & back of the house. Liberty’s bar is quite small, so with five empty seats to the left, the answer to this question is no.

Let’s get back to the bologna. A couple arrived to the side and were handed a hello, as well as being acknowledged as existing with the living. The world shook with shock when they were later handed a menu and a … drink.

As the same server working the floor kept noticing the ongoing nothing during each fly by, he finally said, “Are you okay? Can I get you something?” Um, you sure can. Acknowledgment! YES. While you’re at it, how about a menu? Let’s see, gee, I feel like living on the edge so, maybe you could even get me a drink?

After giving my order to this guy, it’s well past 20 minutes without a drink. His statement upon returning: “I let the bartender know.” Really? Seriously? Come on guy. If someone looks like something steam rolled over their face, just take care of it. Make the drink or get a manager. This is out of control bad service and the bartender is obviously not up to taking care of it.

She doesn’t come over. Truth. No joke. As amazing as this sounds, yes, a few minutes later the manager walked by and said… Hi. My face screamed, “Kill me or get me a drink. You decide.” He apologized before scampering off to get the now infamous order. Upon shaking the bar up & down, he managed to return with both a drink… AND a napkin (!!!).

Life seemed to be making a u-turn from hell and heading straight back to possibly frolicking with mankind. It seemed even better to know this manager would be the human in charge of taking part one of my dinner order.

Deviled eggs & oysters are an exciting combo. Imagine waiting… wanting… wishing… hoping… dreaming… of being given a menu. This reality forces the arrival of the first dish to taste even better.

Save all brain cells and do not assume life is now grand. Service may be taken care of, but after the deviled egg oyster app, the food to come is a wrath yet to be unleashed from Liberty Kitchen. You see, ordering the tuna melt just felt… right. When I sit around day dreaming about tuna melts, warm fluffy feelings inside do NOT happen thinking of a single slice of freezing cold Kraft cheese.

When one decides to title an item on a menu as that of tuna “melt,” um, there needs to be some serious melt up in the club. Who uses what appears to be that of a scary thin & horrifically boring slice of Kraft cheese? Who? What part of superstar melt can ever be produced using a slice of Kraft looking cheese? Impossible.

To make this ingredient worse, the cheese wasn’t melted. Really? So, not only do you use the most lame cheese ever to assault a tuna sandwich, but you then perform the microwave mini melt? For those not aware of the microwave mini melt, this is when a plate is pleasantly placed in the microwave only to be turned on for no longer than almost 8 seconds, thus producing a melted look, while still maintaining a freezing cold fridge temperature status. Sorry, but the next part of this debacle we call Liberty Kitchen is scary.

This human is NEVER the kind of annoying molecule to send things back to the kitchen. Really. No way. Forgive me for requesting to sub once, at Les Sauvages, because it was surf & turf and I thought they could save the turf and double my surf.

There is no way I wasn’t sending this terrifying tuna back after waiting this long & yada. Bite me. The manager rolls back around to check on me, because don’t think for one second I have been checked on by a bartender. He quickly apologized while scooping up my pretend tuna scary melt, stating he would get another on the fly.

As a stranger delivered a mystery meal possessing cheese nuked appeal, morphing into the twilight zone was the only option. Arugula begging for someone to end its charred misery lay beneath the most frightening of all frightening pieces of cheese ever to be witnessed.

Excuses such as “We have had a long day… since 8 a.m.” or “We have only been open for blah blah blah.” New or not, it’s unacceptable to freak out on a consumer’s opinion, especially when the food & service is painful. If this is the story Liberty Kitchen is telling, who wants to listen?

FIVE: High 5!

FOUR: Please & Thank You


TWO: Double Wow

ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch

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4 thoughts on “Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

  1. You would think that restaurants would want food writers to visit. If I were opening an establishment, I would clearly believe in my food enough to want even the toughest critic to test the waters. Open for a year or for a day…shouldn’t matter. On another note, I agree with your reaction to whatever that was on your plate! If it is scary from here, I can imagine how you felt as it was placed in your direct line of sight! Just horrible. Great post by the way; a very enjoyable read (unfortunately from a not so enjoyable experience).

  2. Wow. I thought perhaps Liberty Kitchen was trying (and failing) to be cheeky with that sticker. Perhaps even trying to emulate Bobby Heugel’s no Yelp modified sticker, in order to catch attention. The pictures speak for themselves. Yuck.

  3. Pingback: Ozona Grill & Bar

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