8 North Street, Hingham
Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week
Reservations suggested for large parties
Accessible to the handicapped
Mastercard and Visa accepted
If you’re looking for a casual and cozy slice of Americana in the heart of Hingham, you can’t do much better than the Liberty Grille, the friendly and affordable lunch-and-dinner spot nestled between the more upscale Tosca and Caffe Tosca.
Its upstairs/downstairs dining rooms and bars, open-beam construction, and quaint Colonial décor, along with its prime location across from Hingham Harbor, combine to create a dining experience to please the eye and the palate, not to mention the wallet.
The place is known for its brick-oven pizzas, which start at 6 dollars for a single-serving cheese pie. (The Liberty Grille’s owners, the Thompson family, also run the much-loved Poopsie’s on Route 139 in Pembroke, where the pizzas are equally memorable.) For a couple of bucks each, you can add from a long list of toppings, pepperoni to pineapple.
But on a recent visit we found that the seafood dishes, sandwiches, soups, salads, and especially the homemade desserts, are all worth the trip.
Proprietor Christian Thompson said that the Liberty Grille, which opened its doors more than two decades after Poopsie’s, “aims to maintain the integrity of the former restaurants that occupied this space, as far as traditional menus featuring Yankee cooking and seafood.’’ Compared with Poopsie’s pizza-and-beer pub feel, Liberty Grille is “more about the full dining experience.’’
The lengthy menu reflects that. On a recent Tuesday at noon, two friends and I were greeted by a friendly hostess and directed to a table on the first floor. We enjoyed one appetizer from the daily specials board, an entrée each, and two desserts. And we all left convinced that we’d be too full to eat dinner that night.
Our seafood risotto cakes ($8) consisted of three savory appetizer-size portions. The fish inside was fresh, and included lobster and shrimp, and the dish’s coating was light and tasty.
The broiled scrod entrée ($12) was also fresh and well prepared. The Surf-n-Turf ($18) included barbecue steak tips that were juicy and tangy, as well as an ample serving of delicious fried shrimp. Both were served with mashed potatoes and butternut squash, and a pretty garnish salad of greens, yellow tomatoes, and shaved carrots.
The open turkey sandwich, featuring sliced turkey and gravy on white bread ($9) garnered raves all around.
For dessert, we shared two dishes that our attentive server said were made on the premises. We devoured both the strawberry shortcake ($6), with lots of fresh strawberries and biscuits made by the chef, and the grasshopper pie ($4), with chocolate wafers and crème de menthe sauce.
Soon afterward, I brought my children to the Liberty Grille for dinner.
We shared two salads from the daily specials menu: the Caesar ($6), which was good in a standard sort of way; and the Wedge ($8), which was exceptionally good, thanks to applewood bacon and gorgonzola cheese.
The aforementioned cheese pizzas ($6) drew raves all around. The fish and chips ($10), served with lettuce and coleslaw, and the chicken parmesan ($11), served over linguine, generated high praise as well.
This time around, we were seated upstairs, which is a little more spacious - and affords better views - than the room downstairs. For dessert we enjoyed the Boston crème pie ($4) and the bread pudding with whiskey sauce ($6).
Because of the good food, the good prices, the quaint location, or perhaps all three, the place was crowded, which meant our server had to run up and down the stairs in the tiny corner spot. The fact that she was cheery and helpful throughout made the experience all the more enjoyable.