Boston “prison food” at the Liberty Hotel

by Paul Rubio on September 16, 2010

Alibi at the Liberty Hotel

Boston’s famous jail re-invention, the Liberty Hotel, takes no prisoners at its numerous food and drink outlets!

Just past the contemporary mosaics that rise in tandem with dueling escalators, the hotel’s signature restaurant, CLINK., gives new meaning to prison eats.  The vestiges of original cells set the backdrop for modern American cuisine, heavily focused on local and sustainable products. The half-dozen artisan cheeses are pure dairy utopia, merging the savory fruits of New England’s finest utters with sweet home-made preserves. The raw bar presents top regional catch on the half shell, including Thatch Island Oysters from Barnstable, MA and Littleneck Clams from Cape Cod. The hearty mains satisfy carnivorous cravings with such dishes as the Natural Venison Loin (with sweetbreads, pistachio puree, braised endives and raisin jus) and the Red Wine Braised Shortribs (with potato puree, maitake mushrooms and horseradish gremolata).

Adjacent to the jail cell entrance, the award-winning restaurant, Scampo, has foodies and gourmets trekking over from neighboring states to sample chef Lydia Shire’s gastronomic magnum opus. Lydia’s renowned lobster dishes — lobster pizza, sea-salted butter-poached lobster with red swiss chard gnocchi, and lobster latte — are just a microcosm of her creative culinary ingenuity and prowess. The menu offers vast vegetarian, meat, seafood, and carb options, with descriptions and unlikely combinations seductive enough to warrant several courses (e.g. warm burrata with beet crudo & crushed marcona almond; fresh corn agnolotti del plien with whipped parmesan butter and sherried chanterelles; grilled Vermont quail over roasted peach risotto and pistachio pesto). The gleefully frenetic pace of the open kitchen, the talk of bedazzled patrons, and upbeat vibe lend to an unforgettable dining experience.

On the ground floor, the former “drunk tank” of the Charles Street prison is now a stylish waterhole called Alibi where locals and visitors can toast to their freedom.

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