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Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023

Checking Out The Library


The Library on Fern offers modern ambiance.

There’s a lot to like about this Fern Avenue restaurant

Each edition, 318 Forum’s always-hungry reporter visits a different restaurant and tells you about the experience.

When in school, I didn’t spend much time at the library, and I had the grades to prove it.

So maybe that’s why I had never been to The Library on Fern (8660 Fern Ave., Shreveport). The thought of going to the “library” didn’t do much to stimulate my appetite.

But on a recent Wednesday night, with mist falling and cooler weather just a day or two away, a friend and I decided to check out not a book but dinner at this restaurant with the interesting name.

We pulled into the crowded parking lot just before 7. I didn’t think we would need a mid-week reservation and became concerned we might be in for a long wait. You can make a reservation online, but to do so, you must scroll down to the bottom of the site. There isn’t a place on the site’s menu to reserve a table. Also, there is a glitch in the website that doesn’t let you see all the dinner items.

Crawfish arancini and fried green tomato caprese.

Turns out, our longest wait was to be acknowledged. We stood at the front for maybe a minute before someone greeted us. Am I the only person bothered by a host/hostess asking, “Just two?” Or if I go out to eat alone, “Just one?” How many people was I supposed to bring? In any event, we were taken to our table. There weren’t many available, but we needed “just one.”

Looking around, it didn’t take long for us to hope the food was as good as the atmosphere. The restaurant appeared new, although it’s been open for a couple of years.

From tables and chairs to the bar area to the couches where you can relax and enjoy a beverage, we liked everything about The Library’s modern ambiance.

Speaking of “a beverage,” The Library on Fern has something we thought was really neat, even though neither of us is a beer drinker. There are 20 self-serve beer taps in the back of the restaurant. So, when you’re thirsty, you don’t have to wait for a server to bring you a beer. You buy a card and put whatever amount on it you would like. We were told the beer is a little less expensive buying it that way. If you don’t spend the amount you put on the card, you can take the card with you to use on your next visit.

We learned all of that by asking our server, Logan. He was extremely cordial throughout the evening. Once seated, Logan told us about that evening’s “special.”

But here’s what I appreciated. Not only did he give us a description, but he told us the price. I’m not sure I have ever had a server tell me the price of the restaurant’s special. That’s why I hardly ever order it. I don’t know how much it’s going to cost!

We also asked Logan about the restaurant’s name. He explained that the owners study other countries’ cultures and try to incorporate those cultures into The Library’s menu. That’s why there are Italian, Greek and Asian items sprinkled throughout.

Our dinner began with an appetizer. There were several choices, but here again, The Library does something we really liked. Sure, you can order a full-size starter and share or request a couple of half-order starters – for half-price. That’s what we did, sharing the Crawfish Arancini ($6) and the Fried Green Tomato Caprese ($6).

On the plate were three deep-fried Sicilian rice balls stuffed with crawfish, topped with pickled red onion, and served with spicy aioli. We thought they were excellent! And FYI, the spicy aioli lived up to its name. There were also two fried green tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, basil, bruschetta and port balsamic glaze. They were also very good. My friend really liked them.

For my meal, I chose Blackened Redfish ($30). It was described as pan-seared, served with stone ground grits and corn maque choux. The fish was very good, light and without the fish taste. Unfortunately, the grits were lukewarm at best. I don’t like eating food that’s supposed to be hot or cold, and it’s just the opposite. However, instead of sending it back, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. Don’t get me wrong, my meal was good. It just would have been better if it was hot.

Remember Logan telling us about the special? That’s what my friend chose, sauteed salmon with grits and goat cheese, grilled asparagus and hollandaise sauce ($34). She really enjoyed it. Her grits were warm, and she could tell the difference in texture between her grits and mine.

My friend also enjoyed a glass of wine ($12) with her dinner. She said it was a dry wine with a fruity taste and was pleased with her selection.

We were both full but knew you would be disappointed if we didn’t try one of The Library’s desserts. We had three choices: Crème Brulee, Bread Pudding or Lemon Cheesecake. We are suckers for cheesecake, and you don’t find lemon cheesecake often, so that was our selection ($9).

We were a little disappointed. Neither of us tasted lemon. Frankly, I didn’t taste any flavor. My friend said the dessert tasted more like key lime pie than anything. We did think the crust was good.

The cost of our dinner, excluding tax and tip, was $85. High for dinner? Yes, but we thought that was a fair price for what we ate and the service we were given.

Lemon cheesecake for dessert.

Overall, it was an enjoyable visit to The Library, which is more than I can say for my previous visits to a library. I give Four Forks to The Library on Fern. I would return and go out of my way to do so. It wasn’t a flawless experience, but those are few and far between. The atmosphere, service and food (next time, I would ask my server to please ensure my food is hot) were enough to make me look forward to my next visit.

Sauteed salmon with grits, goat cheese, asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

Pan-seared blackened redfish with stone ground grits and corn maque choux.


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