There’s something special about a Dallas restaurant institution. They have stood the test of the time and have the unique ability to be consistent, yet trendy enough to keep the ever-changing palate of Dallasites intrigued.
While there are a lot of new and hip spots within the city, when someone asks me for a dinner recommendation for a romantic date or maybe a sophisticated girls night out, I always include Local as one of the options.
You’ve probably driven by right Local in Deep Ellum and didn’t even know it was a restaurant. It’s located in the historical Boyd Hotel, the oldest standing hotel in Dallas built in 1908. To be honest, it was my husband, then fiancé, who introduced me to this fantastic restaurant last summer as a surprise date night. I was immediately blown away by his thoughtful gesture and the well-crafted menu.
So when I had the chance to visit Local a few weeks ago and try out some of the new offerings, of course, I said “yes!”
Local was created by chef and owner Tracy Miller in 1998 with the inspired vision of becoming a local establishment in Dallas. And indeed she did. Everything I’ve eaten there accomplishes that goal whether it’s a starter or entrée. The flavors truly just build on each other.
To begin, they presented the warm and savory pretzel mix and a seasonal soup. On this particular day, we sipped on a basil soup with fried leeks and a refreshing cocktail.
On previous visits, we’ve ordered appetizers and entrees a la carte, but during this experience, we opted for the chef tasting – 7 small, but satisfying courses for $70 or for $100 if you want complementing wine.
The salad on the tasting includes endive, frisee and a brussels sprout saute with a garlic, warm shallot, manchego and lemon vinegarette. It was probably one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten. The combination of the cold frisee with the warm and nutty brussel sprouts and a slight tang from the lemon set the tone for the entire meal.
Next up was one of the newest additions to the menu – honey nut squash + chevre ravili laid on a delicate bed of broth and topped with spinach toss, crispy prosciutto and a slighty snowing of nutty parmesan cheese. Every bite was warm, buttery and rich with a little bit of freshness from the greens.
We continued with the crispy anson mills grit cake served on a bed of tomato fennel relish. This might have been my favorite item of the evening. I absolutely love the versatility of grits, and I’m even more in awe of how chefs elevate the grainy ingredient into a sophisticated entrée.
Our entrees featuring meat included the pinot noir glazed king salmon with a parsnip whip and a lovely tasting of a gorgeous steak accompanied by several broccolini.
To complete the meal – we concluded with the Soda Fountain Plate – bittersweet chocolate pudding, malted milk vanilla shake and tiny spiced donuts. Say hello to my friends…three’s the best company too! I might have dipped the donut in the pudding and washed it down the shake. Mouth. Happy.
The ambiance and décor of Local is the perfect backdrop to the exemplary chef’s tasting, and the intimate seating with low light reminds you almost of a restaurant in a bigger metropolitan city such as New York or Los Angeles. It’s the perfect little culinary getaway when you want to escape from the unfortunate pretentious nature of Dallas.
I’ve dined with my special someone and celebrated one of my dear friend’s birthdays at Local with several other ladies. Each time my experience was memorable, the service was impeccable and the food, well the food leaves you coming back for more.
Next month, Tracy and her team at Local will celebrate 15 years of providing this unique experience within Dallas. They have several wine pairings and events scheduled for their anniversary, so make sure you stay tuned to their social media pages for the dates, details and pricing.
I, for one, hope to attend one of the parties. In a city where restaurants come and go, places like Local should be celebrated for the gems they are.
(Disclaimer – My menu sampling was complimentary, and all opinions are my own.)