June 15, 2005

Liberal Club

No, this isn't a political post. It's a restaurant "review."

Last night, My brother-in-law and I took my Dad to the "Liberal Club" in Fall River for Dinner. It's one of my Dad's favorite places to eat in the area. Here's my review.


We got there at 6:10, a little late on a Tuesday night, considering we found out that the kitchen closes at 7. They hurried us in the ordering (understandable) but there was no problem with our order and they were intent on accommodating us.

The atmosphere is that of an extended bar, basically. There is a bar section and then two large rooms with banquet-style tables and folding chairs. There are at least 3 TVs around the bar and in the room we were in (I didn't see inside the large second dining room).

It was $6 and change for a pitcher of cheap beer on tap - Bud. I wasn't feeling picky, and the three of us shared the pitcher. And it isn't the type of place to get picky in.

The wait staff was very friendly and efficient. The bar tab is separate from dinner, so we were served by a lady who took drink orders first.


We quickly ordered an appetizer and three meals. Bread and butter was served just before the appetizer arrived: fried calamari.

I have to admit, this was some of the best Portuguese-style fried squid I've had. It was covered in pickled yellow peppers, as per usual for this area. However, the perfectly fried rings were also covered with a buttery oil and a practical excess of chopped garlic. The garlic was redolent but savory rather than sharp. It combined with the oil to make the calamari especially flavorful and warm. I don't know if there was actual butter in the oil or if it was the richness of the garlic coming through.

My father told me he's had dinner there with a fellow who ordered the calamari appetizer and chased it with the calamari dinner, which is essentially the same dish. I can believce it, it's that good.


Our dinners came. Mine was the Fisherman's Platter -- fried white fish, scallops, shrimp, whole clams and french fries. It was a large portion, and I could not finish it. Well, I could have but I didn't think it wise. Mostly, I skipped the french fries.

The Liberal Club uses a thin batter, which does not get in the way of enjoying the fish. None of it was noticeably greasy, meaning to me it had been cooked for the perfect period of time with good oil. There's not much you can go into detail about with fried food, so I'll just say that this was definitely near the top of the spectrum in quality. Perhaps the best I've had in Fall River, just as my father claims.

My Father had a blackened swordfish. That dinner (and most of the others outside of the Fisherman's Platter) come with a soup-or-salad, and a veggie. I tasted the swordfish and it was delicious. Well-cooked, but not over-cooked , the blackening spices were hot but well balanced. My father claimed that it is usually a thinner piece of fish and usually the spices are more aggressive. But I thought this arrangement was perfect.

My brother-in-law snagged a surf and turf combo. The prime rib (the "turf") he declared as delicious. He'd gotten the smaller of the two choices of portions and he felt it was ample. The surf portion was shrimp, and I think he thought he might have liked more shrimp, but admitted that he would have had to force them down.


We watched the Sox game while we sat in this extremely casual atmosphere, and it was a good time. It strikes me as a place you could go with a bunch of people and not worry about spending too much or how much time you spent there.

The Liberal Club is located in Fall River near the Tiverton line. 20 Star Street, Fall River, MA.

The kitchen closes early on Mon, Tue and Wed, and I will also mention that they're closed for a week or two this year starting July 2nd. So, if you plan to go this summer, plan to go before July starts, or sometime after the second week.

Prices were about what you'd expect. Reasonable, but not crazy-cheap. Dad says it used to be quite a bit cheaper. I'd definitely recommend the place for a casual meal when you're in Fall River. It's no-smoking (even the bar) so no worries there. Don't expect fancy atmosphere, but the people are nice and the food good.

Posted by James at June 15, 2005 3:18 PM
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