WHO’S IN CHARGE Pretty soon the odd Bostonian is going to start walking the streets in shorts on sunny 59-degree days, while others begin thinking about patios and porch heaters and the pleasures of dining outside. If you start going there, remember that Marshfield’s Liv Creative Cuisine has a very homey, enclosed 30-seat patio with a large wood fireplace and owners who like to use it. “We make a fire most nights . . . people like smelling it and even just seeing it,” said chef Tom Coleman, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Maureen, its general manager. Liv is the former Hola — the restaurant chef Maryann Saporito and Andy Boothroyd opened after selling their renowned Saporito’s Florence Club Cafe in 2004. The couples have known each other for years through work: Maureen helped open Hola and Tom has been head chef at many places including Neil Kiley’s former Fat Cat in Quincy and the original Passport in Weymouth. When Saporito and Boothroyd were thinking about selling, they called the Colemans. After some cosmetic renovations, the couple opened last July 5, naming the restaurant after their 6-year-old daughter, Olivia, and Tom’s way with food.
THE LOCALE The two-room restaurant is beautifully done in a blue-and-gray palette, high-end finishes, big front windows, banquets, hanging lamps, and pops of color in its orange leather chair cushioning throughout. A cozy marble bar on one side of the main room is backed with built-in and hanging cabinetry that accommodates a small pass-through window that opens onto the patio. An adjacent glass door frames a glimpse of that seasonal, fenced-in outdoor dining room, and an arched window opens to the kitchen, filling the space with warm aromas and a glimpse of the action. A small TV hangs unobtrusively in a corner above the bar, unless it’s a game day of some sort, and the patio has one, too. Better to watch baseball outside.
ON THE MENU The chef’s menu is built on the New American farm-to-table model that prizes locally sourced foods and those as naturally or organically grown as possible. While Coleman changes the menu seasonally, favorites remain with different sides or fillings: wonderful tacos on grilled tortillas, flatbreads, dollar oysters on Mondays and Tuesdays. Aside from Liv’s flatbreads and bread service, though, Coleman’s serious about gluten-free dishes. “Everything in the fryer is gluten-free,” said Tom, who’s also created solid options for vegetarians as well as vegans. A new favorite of the chef’s is the vegetable Bolognese ($17), made with roasted spaghetti squash, that transforms from vegetarian to vegan by removing some cream and Parmesan. Which isn’t to say that meat dishes take a back seat.
The menu is a good size with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads, fish and meat mains, great veggie sides, and fun kids’ dishes ($6). On a lunch visit, the wonderful grilled lamb ($14), marinated with lemon and olive oil, is served with seasonal whipped butternut squash and broccolini. That day, we so appreciated that the chicken dishes, like the satisfying crispy chicken under a brick ($18), which is made with Bell & Evans birds and sided with sweet potato au gratin and grilled stalks of broccolini. The herb-crusted salmon ($24) is a tender filet, and the grilled shrimp ($14) another lovely dish — shrimp served with grilled bread, hunks of broccoli, garlic, and sausage. I’m loving that Liv’s brownie sundae ($8) is not only gluten free, but also high protein, as it’s made with almond and coconut flours. It’s calling to me, that brownie. Next time.
Liv Creative Cuisine, 1849 Ocean St., #10 Library Plaza, Marshfield, 781-837-2900, www.livcreativecuisine.com.Joan Wilder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.