Liberty Village recently welcomed two excellent new places: Claudio Aprile's Origin Liberty, which opened in summer 2012, and 25 Liberty, a friendly competitor just down the street. It's owned by former Zucca and Splendido chef Daniel Lynn and his fiancée, Tracy Coutts. In a subdued setting of candlelight and soul music, they create an unabashedly romantic and mercifully unironic dining experience. Strikingly plated apps include a tower of sautéed shrimp and chorizo with delightful spikes of cilantro and chili. The kitchen treats each component of a deconstructed pear salad with care, and the poached fruit, pecans, pickled onion and arugula combine beautifully. Fresh mussels and scallops enrich a plate of house-made scialatielli, but the tomato sauce is too acidic. Three lamb chops are grilled to a perfectly pink, buttery rare; they're so good that it's easy to forgive the bland potato gratin on the side. Dessert brings two star plates: airy bread pudding with butterscotch, chocolate sauce, Benedictine cream and white raisins, and a rich hazelnut-studded chocolate cake. Mixologist Kyle Burch comes up short, delivering a flat, sangria-like punch and cocktails as bitter as a Victorian spinster. Diners are better served by the extensive and exciting international wine list.
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