Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Marshall Free House

Marshall Free House has finally opened their doors, and it was most definitely worth the wait. The woodwork was meticulously hand-crafted, the bourbon collection would impress any aficionado, and the ambiance is dark and sexy, as if you're in the library of a castle - except it's way more bustling. Ample seating, fire pits, attentive and pleasant service – I'm really at a loss for anything less than positive to say about this place.

During my visits, I had the pleasure of sampling several of their cocktails, and they are all quite delightful. They never muddle fruit or ingredients; they use flavor-infused simple syrups. You can also hear them cutting specialty square ice cubes for the most outstanding Old Fashioned you’ll ever have. Even non-bourbon lovers will flip over it. A Gin-based drink features flavors like Raspberry, Lemon and Rosemary (perfect for summer) and their spin on a Margarita offers a whimsical cloud of Sea Salt Foam.

Margarita with Sea Salt Foam!
Price points vary so that nothing is out of reach. I'm thoroughly impressed with their rendition of a Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Grilled Sourdough (?) Bread is brushed with an herby, garlicky Pistachio Pesto Mayonnaise; crispy, salty Prosciutto; tender Chicken and a warm Tomato Confit, a Ketchup-like element. Chips (fries) are less crispy than I’d like, but they are salty and slightly vinegary. The Cornish Pastie is made nightly, and thus limited to first-come, first-served. I’d compare it to a British Calzone. Buttery, flaky pastry is stuffed with Minced Meat, Potatoes and Carrots, and it's served with spicy, vinegary Pickled Vegetables.

Chicken Tikka Masala is a tip of the hat to Indian food that’s so incredibly popular in Great Britain. Tender Chicken bathes in a creamy curry sauce, alongside sticky Jasmine Rice and grilled Naan. I loved the charred flavor of the Naan, but I could have used a dash more curry – I like it hot. Those with more mild palates will appreciate this dish. The Salmon is cut thick, served with a killer Fig, Date, Swiss Chard and Root Vegetable combo. I detected a slight Bourbon flavor in this, which was especially nice. Bangers and Mash are a classic, and MFH’s hit the nail on the head. I love when the Sausage casing pops in my mouth, and these plump Bangers definitely satisfy. Potatoes are buttery and chunky, and the tang of the Onion Gravy (much like a jam) brightens up the whole dish.

The infamous Sticky Toffee Pudding!!! Beware.
MFH’s STP – OMG. Let me break it down. This is the most insane Sticky Toffee Pudding (STP) I’ve ever had. It’s worth saving room for, but I wouldn’t judge you for ordering it as your drink, appetizer, entrĂ©e AND dessert. (Yes, I said drink – the butterscotch “gold” sauce they pour over the pudding really is pure gold; you’ll want a straw.) Upon ordering this, my dining partner who has had Marshall’s rendition of STP before, asked if I brought an extra pair of undergarments with me…that’s how much I was going to fall in love with this dessert. The plump dates and golden raisins nestled in the tender pudding, and I would like to do the same. Banoffee Pie is like STP’s cuter, younger sister. I enjoyed it, but nothing can compare to the hot, older sibling. The Pie crust is obviously homemade and the Toffee-Sweetened Condensed Milk sauce compliments fresh Bananas and homemade Whipped Cream nicely. It’s scrumptious.

Each visit has been a very fun evening. It’s quickly becoming a personal favorite. It was packed at 8:45pm on a week night. People have been itching to get in here, and now they won’t want to leave. Marshall Free House is doing many things right.

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