"Hey, hey, hey. *What* is going *on* here?", a great high school principal was once famous for saying that. And if you think about it it makes sense to ask that question in more contexts than just wanting to find out what Zack's latest scheme is. It actually probably makes more sense than journalism teachers that say you should start your articles with an "attention grabbing quote". (See what I did there?) But in any case that is precisely the question I asked myself when over the weekend The Girlfriend and I rolled up to The Local Eatery and Pub in Westfield to grab a bite to eat. For people that are less food knowledgeable (not any of you readers I'm sure) The Local could be a slightly confusing place. Is it an upscale pub? That is certainly in the name. There is a full bar. There are a lot of flat screen TVs. But wait, I thought this was a serious restaurant right? I mean there are menu items like mac 'n cheese with bacon lardons and a cheese steak made with braised beef tounge. Those are definitely things foodies tend to wet their pants over. If it's a serious food place though is it stuffy and uptight, or can you eat in a relaxed atmosphere? The truth is that is why I think I found this place to be so special. It's all of those things. I can have a beer and watch football. I can eat some seriously bad ass food, and I don't have to feel like a pretentious d-bag to do it. Let me talk a little bit about why and maybe you'll realize why you should get your butt into this place the next time you get a chance.
When The Girlfriend I arrived at the restaurant I have to admit it looked a little unassuming. It's at the back end of a kind of strip mall in what used be a really crappy run-of-the-mill bar for 40 somethings. However, when we walked inside we were impressed with the modern interior while still feeling welcomed in a casual restaurant/pub kind of way. We were told there was a 30 min wait without a reservation, but we were able to quickly find a seat in the bar area as it was first come first serve. The restaurant was busy so we took some time to look over the menu and we decided to start with the baked goat cheese appetizer and ordered the bbq bacon burger (my entree) and the fish and chips (for The Girlfriend).
The baked goat cheese came out first and it gave us a little hint of what the dining experience was going to be like. The goat cheese was served fresh out of the oven in a dish of olive oil and roasted garlic. It was served with a small loaf of fresh baked bread. The flavors worked beautifully together and everything, including the bread, had a degree of freshness in its taste that is damn hard to beat. I think my favorite part was that the roasted garlic had become quite soft in the olive oil and I was able to cut it and spread it easily on my slice of bread along with the goat cheese. Goat cheese is something that I see used on Food Network all the time, and up to this point my experience with it had been limited. However, after trying this appetizer at The Local I would probably knock down a defenseless Alex Guaraschelli to get some more.
I was a little bit surprised when she decided to go with the fish and chips because she usually isn't a fish person (or a Phish person you dirty hippies), but she said she just felt like it would be good. She was right. The portion size was impressive with 2 very large white fish fillets and the same fries I mentioned above. She said she couldn't believe how fresh the fish tasted so I had to try a piece (or 3). She was right. I've never had F&C that tasted quite like that. The breading stayed on, but the fish was very tender and flaky. The house made tartar sauce was distinctive also in a very good way.
Also, I don't always comment about service, but I feel obligated here. Our server for the evening, Taylor, was extremely good at her job. Despite being very busy in the crazy bar area side of the restaurant she tended quickly to our every need and made herself available for any questions if we had them. If the owners of the restaurant are reading this know that you have a very good staff member there.
Ok ratings time, but let's face it these are practically a formality at this point.
Taste 10/10 If this was Spinal Tap and these ratings went to 11 I would give it here. Why? Because this one was 1 better. I'm not kidding the burger jumped to the top of my list of favorite burgers, and I can't wait to go back and try some other menu offerings.
Value 10/10 This is really the icing on the cake. You can go to The Local and have a great, not good, great meal for a price that doesn't make it just a "special occasion" place if you have an average budget. The Girlfriend's F&C was 12 bucks, and my burger was 11. The app was more expensive at $9.50, but if we had forgone that we could have got out for under 30 bucks. Win.
The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at methodicaldudereallythinksalotaboutthefoodhesgoingtoeat.blogspot.com