I know it hasn't been that long since I last reviewed The Local, but the other night I really wanted to go to Pizzology for soft shell crabs, and I dragged hubby up to Carmel just after he had gotten off a plane. The wait was too long for him (he was starving) and even the bar was full, so I remembered that the Local was close by, and we went there instead. It was quite crowded as well, but we could at least sit at the bar and get a drink while we waited. Also, since a lot of people hassled me over my last review of The Local, so I thought I should give it another try.
We started with the warm goat cheese appetizer ($9.50) which I quite enjoyed. Seems like a lot of people have this on the menu, but they are almost always prepared the same way—surrounded by marinara. Which is good too, but it is nice to see a little change of pace. This one was the goat cheese with some olive oil and several cloves of roasted garlic—the mellow but rich garlic was a good combination with the slightly tangy goat cheese. It was served with toasted bread that was crisp, but not burnt and soft enough to not hurt your teeth.
After my recommendation from the last time I was there, hubby had the chicken fried pork tenderloin sandwich with their house cut fries ($9.50) and I tried the Portobello burger with fries ($9.50). Several people had recommended the Portobello burger to me after my first review, and it was good. It was a whole grilled Portobello mushroom cap with Havarti cheese, red onions, lettuce, tomato and their house sauce. This is the same sauce that is on the tenderloin. The mushroom was marinated and was tender and flavorful and went well with the cheese and the house sauce which I think was mayo, mustard and maybe horseradish. The sauce kicked up the toppings just the right amount. The bun was nice and soft—my only complaint being that the bottom bun was quite thin, and because mushrooms hold a lot of water, the bottom bun was pretty soggy. I turned it upside down and ate it that way to keep it all together. But it tasted good. The fries have a fresh potato flavor, but they were still a little cold to me, and thus, a bit soft.
Hubby agreed with my past sentiments about the tenderloin and also thought it was good—he was not a huge fan of the house sauce on the sandwich though because he thought it was a little too overpowering for the sandwich. The tenderloin itself is very tender inside though and nice and crunchy on the outside—the breading is fuller than most—more like a double fried piece of chicken (hence the name, “chicken fried” pork tenderloin sandwich I suppose). He agreed with me about the fries and thought he might try the tater tots next time, just because they might stay crisper, even though they are not house made.
We also shared the “beignets” for dessert. These were pretty good, with a caramelly dipping sauce, but according to hubby and his New Orleans experience, they were not really beignets. They were more like donut sticks—denser through the middle than traditional beignets, and certainly larger. They were also covered with cinnamon sugar quite thickly. Traditionally I think beignets are lightly fried and dusted with powdered sugar. But, although they weren’t really what we were expecting, they were hot and fresh and tasted good dipped in the warm caramel sauce.
You certainly have to appreciate the fact that they are using a lot of local ingredients and products (hubby enjoyed his cocktail made with Indiana vodka) and that they are doing something independent in this area where so much is chains. The interior is a little gray for me, and quite bare, but in general the staff is friendly (if not a bit crazed). The place was packed, and I can see how it offers a good alternative if this is your side of town.
The Local Eatery & Pub
14655 Gray Road