What can I say about The Local 150, otherwise known as simply The Local? Situated in the quiet outskirts of Coral Gables, this restaurant boasts a rotating menu of down-home American food with a twist. I found myself at The Local a few weekends ago through the power of Twitter. After a series of tweets between The Local and GOF, a day and time was set for the culinary fun to begin.
150 Giralda Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33034
From the outside The Local looks more like a spot that would be known more for its drinks than food. That’s because from the outside, you can see that the bar is a focal point of the pub-style restaurant. It is an intimate venue, but big on charm and selection. The bar boasts at least 18 varieties of craft beers, along with a wine and cocktail selection that rivals any upscale Miami restaurant. I started the evening by ordering a Hawaiian Stone Sour which included a high west double rye, demerara syrup, fresh lemon juice and pineapple juice. It was delicious.
My first course was the Bread and Butter plate. While it may sound like the basic serving of mass-produced rolls with factory made butter, it was not that. The staff brought out a serving of amazing fluffy southern-style cornbread and grilled bread that was toasted just right. The Local makes their cultured butter on-site and it was a delightfully whipped blend that went perfectly with texture of both the cornbread and grilled bread.
But the star of the bread and butter show was the house-made watermelon jam. I have to admit that when the server introduced the idea of watermelon jam my first thought was, “watermelon doesn’t have enough flavor for jam.” Boy was I wrong! The cornbread and watermelon jam combination was so good I almost ate the entire portion while waiting on my friends to join me for dinner. I was generous and saved a piece for them though.
When my friends arrived we ordered the Cornmeal Hushpuppies to share because we were determined to find any excuse to eat the remainder of the watermelon jam. The hushpuppies had a crispy shell with a warm cornmeal center that was reminiscent of the cornbread we inhaled just moments before. It paired nicely with the watermelon jam.
Sticking with the appetizers, my friend ordered a Grilled Wedge Salad and I was puzzled by two words: grilled salad. Like you, I have heard of grilled chicken or salmon on a salad, but not an actual grilled salad. I could not wait to see what the dish was all about. The salad was a combination of radish, celery, apples, spiced peanuts and blue cheese on a bed of lightly grilled arugula. Butter was the word of the day as the salad was topped with brown butter, which my friend requested be included on the side. The butter acted as the glue that melded the flavors of the salad together. Also, the salad comes with country ham but my vegetarian friend requested it not be included on her dish.
our wonderfully friendly server brought out a favorite entree among the locals of The Local. The Steak Tartare sat atop a blend of deviled egg, chives and roasted garlic. I have to say the deviled egg gave the dish a unique flavor and I was surprised at how much the combination made sense. Kudos to the chef for such a bold plate that worked.
After all the warm-up excitement, we were ready for the main course. I ordered the classic pub staple of Fish and Chips, while my friend ordered Smoked Beef Sweetbreads. From the menu, the sweetbreads entree was listed as a combination of stone ground grits, mushroom slaw and smoked mushrooms. That sounded simple enough but I could not picture what that dish would actually look like upon arrival. Good thing I captured a picture so you don’t have to imagine.
My fish and chips entree soon followed. The golden crust of my catfish was fried just right. It adhered to the fish well but was light enough not to overpower its taste.
I could go on and on about this dish but I have to switch gears to discuss the gem of all culinary gems that night: the Fried Chicken Leg.
I was prepared to eat my well-made and tasty fish and chips. I really was. But, then the server brought out the creme dela creme of The Local’s menu that night and it was a game-changer. As soon as I tasted the fried chicken leg, I had the server box up the fish and chips because there was no way I would be eating it instead of the chicken. This dish came on a bed of blended split peas that resembled mashed potatoes, topped with a bacon cornbread dressing and finished with southern-fried de-boned chicken leg cut into four pieces. My friend wanted to share the dish and I obliged but I was not happy about it. I wanted it all to myself. I highly recommend that anyone in the mood for good, down-home, hearty dish forgo everything else and order this instead. You will not be disappointed.
After all that eating, me and my friends were stuffed. The server asked if we wanted to order dessert and, of course, we declined. However, our server told us about the hot sticky buns, and we couldn’t turn them down. As full as we were, we managed to devour the Sticky Buns topped with Miami’s own smokers bacon and homemade sweet potato ice cream.
The Local is an excellent place to go when you want quality food by a chef and staff committed to using only the best locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients found in South Florida. The food and drinks are nothing less than amazing and for the price, they are almost giving it away. If you find yourself craving a bit of American comfort food in the heart of South Florida, visit The Local.