The Local is a place that I’ve wanted to eat at for quite a while. Recently I’ve seen and heard of more and more people dining there and saying great things. This makes me want to go that much more. This past weekend, I made hubs and I a reservation for Saturday night. I couldn’t miss out anymore; I was craving what everyone was talking about.
Making a reservation was the best idea I had in addition to dining there. When we walked in, the wait was quite extensive. However, we were immediately sat at our table with menus in hand. The speed of the service definitely stopped at that point, but at least we had enough time to really read the menu while waiting for our server. Our stomachs growled as we each ordered a local brew to quench our thirst and waited patiently for our starter.
After our visit to Vancouver in 2009, hubs developed a love for poutine. When he saw it on the menu, I knew there was no chance in convincing him to order frog legs. The french fries were the perfect size – not too thick and not too thin – the perfect size to soak up all the gravy. They were crispy, which stood up to the beef gravy spooned all over them. The gravy was seasoned perfectly, and I only note that as sometimes I find poutine to be quite salty. That clearly wasn’t the case here. Chunks of tender beef were part of the rosemary gravy, covering all the fries and delivering flavorful bites every time. Melted cheese was the final ingredient – and there was a lot of it – to make this basket of poutine perfect. My only gripe would be how it was served. The parchment paper couldn’t hold up to the fries and ripped all over the place. Luckily, no paper was in our bites, but we were both careful to ensure it wouldn’t be a problem. Preference would, of course, not to have to worry about the paper and have the fries served on a plate instead.
After licking our lips clean of the gravy, hubs and I waited for our next course. And we waited some more. Fortunately, we were having a great conversation, but eventually, I couldn’t help but look at the clock and realize we had been sitting and waiting for 35 minutes on our dinner. At that point, our server stopped by to inform us our dinner was being plated and would be out shortly. Then, 20 more minutes passed. When he finally came out with our food, he was extremely apologetic, but I still couldn’t help but notice how we were avoided the whole time we were waiting.
Once we received our dinner, I was happy to see it was at least piping hot rather than have had sat in the window for a period of time. Hubs had ordered the pig and the pork specialty sandwich with tator tots as his side. Overall, he wasn’t pleased with the sandwich. We had decided to split our entrees so I too had my fair share of bites. I’m sad to say, I wasn’t impressed either. But we had different reasons on why we didn’t enjoy the sandwich. He didn’t like it as the pork patty seemed awfully fatty – he was taking pieces out of his mouth upon chewing. I didn’t notice it as much, but I was picking it apart rather than eating it straight up as a sandwich. The pulled pork on top lacked flavor to both of us, and the cilantro cream sauce lacked that strong cilantro flavor. The apple beet salad was served on the side almost as an afterthought rather than part of the dish, and as a beet lover, I wasn’t impressed either. So he didn’t enjoy the tastes, where I was just expecting more and was left disappointed. And, if you haven’t noticed by the photo, his tator tots weren’t on the plate as he was given french fries instead. But at this point, we had waited so long he wasn’t willing to wait any longer for his potato correction.
I had ordered the The Local cheese steak, and I was definitely much happier with my selection than hubs. The bread was thick enough to serve as a perfect vehicle for all of the juicy braised meat and sauteed veggies, but tender and thin enough that it wasn’t the main part of the sandwich. The braised beef tongue was tender – so tender that it was falling off the thickly sliced pieces. And the melted Swiss cheese was great with the meaty components of the sandwich without being overwhelming in flavor, really letting the meat shine. The mustard finished it perfectly as a tangy fig taste complimented everything beautifully. As for my side, I had ordered a side salad with a fried egg on top. I love the option of the protein addition, and the egg was pan fried just enough for the whites to be done, but for the yolk to spill all over and act as a dressing for the greens.
Due to the wait, our server (Thom) was friendly and kind enough to offer free dessert to offer his apologies. I will never say no to beignets and am beyond happy I didn’t say no to these. A large portion for sure, the beignets were fried to golden perfection with crispy outer layers. Inside, a light doughnut texture that was airy leaving a nice contrast to the fried crust. Powdered sugar was the sweetness that was needed to complete all the flavors that I anticipated. But to make it that much more delicious, a vanilla cream sauce to dip the powdered dessert in finished the dish. The frustration of waiting all disappeared with each bite I savored.
Despite the wait, everything else was great. All the staff worked together well and seemed friendly. We had several servers stop by to refill our waters and pick up plates when our server wasn’t around. A real team environment, the staff made it apparent with the turning of tables and the assistance everyone was kicking in to make it happen. This family friendly eatery was beyond busy – full of a variety of customers including large groups, families, girls night out, bachelor time, and couples out for dinner. There wasn’t a definitive customer and everyone really seemed to be enjoying their food in the laid back environment, enjoying the artisan food.
Sure, hubs and I weren’t a fan of his burger. And we had to wait for quite a while to eat. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be returning. We had a great evening together. There was a slew of other items I was drooling over to try. I loved the honest food, the great service and the casual environment. It is everything I expect out of a gastropub and I can see it becoming a go-to for me in the future.
The Local Eatery & Pub * 14655 N Gray Road * Westfield, 46062 * 317.218.3786