|Almond brownie with peanut butter and marshmallow topping with a dollop of vanilla ice cream|
Don't arrive in a hurry. Not because the service is lax. To the contrary, it is rather attentive and refreshingly sincere. Just plan to take your time ordering. Ask to see the desserts first, because you will want to save room for a strawberry napoleon or the almond-studded brownie topped with a creamy pillow of homemade peanut butter, then draped with a blanket of whipped marshmallow that has been brulee-torched for a thin, crispy outer coating.
|Passion fruit martini|
Also allow yourself a few moments to drink up the beverage options. Passion and pumpkin martinis incorporate luscious purees, but someone at the table should try Rosemary's Garden, a classic-style martini (and first course all on its own) with rosemary-dill infused vodka and a floater of crisp sauvignon blanc, garnished, of course, with a blue-cheese stuffed olive. After you've determined the opening and finale of your meal, then debate over a colorful menu of starters and entrees worthy of multiple repeat visits until you try them all. If you haven't sampled the new additions to the menu at Locale, I would highly recommend adding it to your to-do list this holiday season... and with a high priority.
|Jumbo lump crab cakes with melted leeks and chipotle creme fraiche|
At Locale, owner Johnny Koljenovic aspires to offer “a taste of the city without having to travel there.” With the expertise of Executive Chef and culinary visionary Jesse Davis (who returned to Locale after the unfortunate closing of Lucas Steakhouse), the team at Locale is achieving just that… and much more. “Families come for brunch, take the kids home, and then bring friends back for an elegant dinner,” smiles Kolyenovic.
By day, sunlight floods in through two floor-to-ceiling windows creating a cheerful openness. By night, the glow of candles lights the entire street corner like a giant, serene luminary. The restaurant is one of those rare chameleons that appeals to nearly every demographic, offering intimacy at window-side tables for two, communal space for larger parties, a vibrant bar for solo supping, and an elevated split-level lounge with sprawling banquettes for groups of friends. A popular spot with nearby professionals of the film and television industry (Kaufman Astoria Studios is just around the corner), Nurse Jackie has filmed several episodes at Locale, and Life on Mars hosted its wrap party here.
Take just one bite of any of Chef Davis’s dishes, and it’s no secret why the stars and locals keep coming back again and again. Delicately balancing artistry with fresh flavors, the menu features gorgeous plates using only organic, locally sourced ingredients. Blackened Mayan Shrimp is served like a Jenga tower over a log cabin of yucca fries and a moat of tangy creole purée.
The cartoonishly plump thumb-sized homemade gnocchi get dollops of creamy fresh ricotta and a slathering of robust herb-roasted tomato ragu with a sprinkling of salty, crisped shallots and shaved cheese ribbons.
|Pan-seared organic salmon with chive whipped potato and pinot noir reduction|
The platings are as beautiful as they are delicious. But the most beautiful part? Unlike dining in the city, there is no waiting for a train or cab for the trek home after.