FEED ME! Local finds a tasty, albeit pricey groove
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – A little more than a year ago I ate at Local, the restaurant on Town Square that replaced Cadillac Grill, within a week of its opening. And then I didn’t go back until almost a year later, except to enjoy its house-ground, grass-fed burger (starting at $7), at the bar.
The restaurant is a joint venture of Paul Wireman and Will Bradof, the two men behind Trio, a favorite of mine. I’ve never had anything bad there and have had several items I thought exceptional. I expected something similar from Local, where Bradof and Wireman share executive chef credit.
But when Local opened there was nothing exceptional about my meal there, except the check. The bill came to about $250 for two people who drank a medium amount of alcohol. I hoped the slow service, uninspired tastes and bland desserts were because the restaurant had only just opened and needed to find its groove. So I gave it a year.
I’m happy to report Local has found most of its groove. I’m not happy to report that the prices are still sky high. In the weeks before Local opened, I interviewed Bradof for a blurb in Sunset Magazine. He said Local’s price point would be lower than that of Trio.
That is not the way it worked out. Perhaps Local ended up going with higher-quality ingredients than originally planned or crunched the numbers and realized Town Square rent required higher prices or, and I hope this isn’t the case, the owners decided Local’s Town Square locale makes it acceptable for the average entrée to be $30.
Whatever the reason, a meal at Local is not less expensive than at Trio. But at least now it’s much closer to Trio’s in terms of quality and consistency.
The seared elk medallions ($32) are my favorite. Rubbed with coffee, the medallions arrive at the table a perfect medium rare and luxuriating on a bed of sweet potato puree surrounded by a halo of huckleberry demi-glace. A perfect bite that includes all three makes my mouth tingle. I let the combo sit on my taste buds for as long as I can without my dining companions realizing I’m being a bit of a freak. And then I start to chew. It’s like woodland pixies waltzing across my tongue.
Then I moved on to the wild game pasta ($18). The woodland pixies didn’t reappear, but for one of the least expensive things on the menu (the chef’s burger and buffalo steak frites are also $18 each), it’s yummy and flavorful. The house-made elk sausage has a great kick and the texture of the braised greens is a nice juxtaposition to the al dente garganelli pasta.
However, by the time we tasted the braised lamb shank ($30), I was the only one at the four-top who didn’t think it was the best shank she ever had. Had the pixies ruined me for everything else? No, the crispy polenta cake accompanying the lamb shank was delectable.
The over-salted, bone-in grilled pork chop ($28) did not impress, however.
While Local’s entrees and service have greatly improved, its dessert menu is still lacking. The cheesecake is more cheesy than sweet for my particularly sweet tooth. Most everyone, however, would have problems with the mushiness of its crust. The fried blueberry pies, reminiscent of a cross between a McDonald’s apple pie and a Hostess Fruit Pie, sounds like a good idea but the blueberry filling is too gelatinous.
Local serves lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner from 5:30 p.m. 55 North Cache. 201-1717, localjh.com.