That title was too easy not to be cheesy 😛
King’s Court in Milford may be closed, but there’s a cool new bar in its place with a familiar face at the helm. That bar—located just over the Stratford line, in the Village of Devon—is now called Liberty Rock Tavern and its chef/owner is Dan Kardos, someone Fairfield County food geeks will remember from places like LeFarm, The Whelk, Local, and Napa & Co., just to name a few.
With Liberty Rock, Kardos saw an opportunity to reopen a neighborhood haunt but wanted to revamp it. He told us that the makeover was a lot of work, and it took all summer, into the fall to turn around the gutted space. Liberty Rock’s new look is simple, but clean. Think neon beer signs, high tops with bar chairs, a few tables, an ample bar area despite the tavern’s size, and plenty of flat screens for your sports viewing pleasure. It’s a fun spot too, and by fun, I mean, there are games to be played like shuffleboard, darts, and those skilled enough to be even remotely good at foosball.
When Kardos reached out and invited us in, we were more than happy to accept because we had been following Liberty Rock’s progress. We made the short drive up 95 on what was a busy Friday night for Liberty Rock. We immediately noticed a good buzz in the room, not rowdy, just real chill, with lots of groups hanging out, and a demographic of all ages.
We were feelin’ the atmosphere so we ordered up a couple libations. I started out with something light. The Fig Mule is a standard prep of a classic, with fresh lime, ginger beer, and served proper with ice, and in a copper mug, but the kicker is the use of fig infused vodka. Before long Rob and I both were all about Liberty Rock’s version of a citywide special with a Wu Tang name: C.R.E.A.M. (Genesee Cream Ale and a shot of Goldschläger). It’s a good remedy for your end of the week de-stress session. Rounding out the booze menu are six beers on draft, more beer in bottles and cans (yes, that includes generic stuff for non-craft drinkers), wine, and a few more cocktails that will rotate.
For food, you can expect what we found to be some truly great, but elevated pub fare. Kardos’ inspiration for the menu is simple. “I’m making food people want to eat. Food that I like to eat,” he said. We agree 100%. You’ll even see some stuff on the ever-changing, seasonal menu that you normally won’t see in similar places.
When we went, Kardos added Roasted Sea Scallops (bacon, potatoes, leeks, in clam broth), that were tender and perfectly caramelized on the outside. That broth, with the inclusion of salty bacon and starchy potatoes, were a hearty offering on a chilly night and they seemed to be flying out of the kitchen during our visit. We also devoured an Asian-influenced Rice Bowl with melt-in-your-mouth, mid-rare steak (you can also choose shrimp or chicken), roasted broccoli, spicy sweet potatoes, and tonkatsu sauce.
From there, Kardos sent out a couple of proper bar sandwiches. The Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with ranch, bread & butter pickles, pickled jalapeño, bacon, and American cheese is a must-try for any chicken sandwich lover. This was a juicy filet, covered in plenty of sauce, with a pickle in nearly every bite, an occasional spice from the peppers. And bacon is always a plus on anything. From there we requested to try the Sausage, Egg, & Cheese On A Glazed Donut. Yeah, you read that right. It’s a well-seasoned sausage patty that’s made in-house, an extremely runny egg, and pepper Jack, on a halved, lightly toasted, Donut Crazy glazed donut. It is as good as you think it would be. How could it not be? I said, “It’s a qualifier for the best drunk food item in the area.” To which Rob followed with, “I wouldn’t even need to be drunk to order that.”
Overall, we loved Liberty Rock Tavern. The combo of the energy in the room and Chef Kardos’ food really won us over, so we’ll pay attention to see what he does with the menu in the coming months. Normally Norwalk to Milford is a touch far for us but we know that we’ll be back for damn sure!
Liberty Rock Tavern
229 Bridgeport Avenue
Milford, CT 06460