The Local wasn't at the top of my list (it wasn't far down it either) but all the restaurants higher up the list were closed on Sunday. And it is a restaurant after my own, serving local products in season, so I had high hopes for it.
I started with a beer because I was thirsty from walking all afternoon. Our server recommended a Blue Mountain beer. I recalled that we had passed Blue Mountain brewery earlier in the day up on Afton Mountain and the parking lot was full. Beer wasn't on our agenda this weekend, but I was happy to try a glass of their Full Nelson American Pale Ale featuring hops that Blue Mountain grows on their own farm here in Virginia. It was a nice enough beer and I am happy for having tried it.
Sticking with the local theme, I ordered a bottle of Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc 2008 and it turned out to be the best wine of our day. I have known of Michael Shaps for a long time and have tasted many wines for which he has been the consulting winemaker, but never tasted one of his eponymous wines before. And finally a decent wine glass. Our server brought us a couple of the Riedel restaurant series. They aren't great glasses but they aren't bad either. I wanted to spend more time looking through the fairly extensive wine list, but we were on a bit of a short schedule.
|2008 Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc|
We shared six appetizers and a single main dish. The appetizer list looked much more appealing to me than the list of mains, but that is true in almost all restaurants including my own.
|PEI Mussels, Leek-Fennel Broth, Spicy Aïoli, Crispy Rice Noodles|
|Crispy Shrimp; Pickled Ginger-Black Sesame Aïoli; Seaweed Salad|
|Roast Pork Belly; Grits Cake; Local Beer Mustard; Braised? Red Cabbage|
I am an expert at cooking pork belly and it shames me for our industry what other cooks are doing to it. The belly was roasted skin on until the point where the meat had just become tough as sin and the fat not cooked enough to become that unctuous delicacy that is high quality pork belly. Folks, unless you are going to make your pork skin into chicharrón, it is inedible and doesn't belong on the plate.
|Truffled Mushroom Ragout on House-Made Fettuccine|
|Truffled Mac and Cheese|
|Duck Breast, Roasted Garlic Mash, Roasted Sprouts/Carrots; Madeira Gravy|
OK, bottom line time. I would go back. They use very good local ingredients and I want to support that. It's a shame that the kitchen doesn't appear to have the horsepower (or drive, perhaps) to make the most of these awesome ingredients.