Monday, January 13, 2014

Local On The Square

So here's what's up: Last Saturday morning I ran seven miles. (In a row, without stopping.) For the first time ever I actually exceeded the "calories burned" tracker on my treadmill. As I approached 999 I half-expected some sort of Y2K shutdown scenario to occur, but alas it rather underwhelmingly just started over at 001. 
 
Long story short, I burned "[1]072" calories and was in major need of sustenance. Time to try out Local, y'all!
 
(That'd be Local On The Square, not the more-popular downtown location.)

I walked inside at noon on a Saturday and was immediately greeted by a hostess who escorted me to the second level dining area. Charm reigned supreme: exposed beams, original hardwood floors, even candles burning in the fireplace (at noon on a Saturday, y'all). Plus you couldn't beat the panoramic views of Madison/Cooper.



I was given two menus, "Brunch" and "Dinner." (Both were flipped to the liquor side of things, but I just flipped those bad boys right on over to the FOOD and got to ordering/chowing down.) First up: the "Brunch" menu.


Within minutes I'd thirstily downed my Diet Coke with lime. My server noticed this and brought over a (free) refill the moment I finished. Well player, sir.


Just a few moments later (total wait time of five, maybe 10 minutes) this bad boy was placed on my table. Crab cakes benedict!


I can't... It was just... Y'all.

Y'all.

This was literally one of the most scrumptious things I've ever tasted. The English muffins? Perfectly toasted. The crab cakes? Divine. The poached eggs and smoked tomato hollandaise? Rich, runny goodness (and I usually balk at eggs cooked anything less than bone-dry). A triumph of a main course.

Note: There are actually two "crab eggs benedict"-type dishes on my Things to Eat In Memphis lists: one from Sweet Grass, the other from Cafe 1912. While Local's version of crab eggs benedict doesn't appear on either list (though OMG it should), I figured I'd give their version a whirl so that, after eventually sampling all three versions, I'll be able to crown a definitive "Best Crab Eggs Benedict in Memphis" winner. Fun right?

So anyway, after I'd inhaled something brunchy it was obviously time for dessert. There is exactly one dessert option on the "Dinner" menu, so...I went with that one.


Behold: Local's "famous maple bacon blondie."


I took one bite and actually, literally thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Similar to the maple bacon donut from Gibson's, this definitely had the whole "pancakes and bacon" vibe going on. The first bite was overwhelmingly buttery, then you started noticing the sweetness of the gelato, the saltiness of the bacon... It was close-your-eyes-and-sigh good. The only thing I might *slightly* knock this dish on would be bacon presentation. Based on past reviews, the dessert used to feature two thick-cut, sugar-cured strips of bacon (yum). While the "nuked bacon bits" approach they seem to use now is certainly practical, they may want to at least consider pan-frying to make it more attractive on the plate. Just a thought.

Note #2 (while we're on the subject and while I'm apparently on a roll with "Notes" today): In reading other Urbanspoon reviews of this establishment, it seems that my overwhelmingly positive experience at Local On The Square puts me in the minority of patrons. Other reviewers complained about the service (calling it rude and/or slow), bemoaned the scaled-down menu, and basically begged readers to skip this location altogether in favor of the one downtown. I took these opinions into account and tried to find a flaw in my meal, but in the end I must stand by my opinion that this was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had in Memphis. I was seated immediately, my server was polite and attentive, and my meal was superb... There's simply nothing I can complain about! I absolutely plan to return and will be interested to see if my first experience at Local was a fluke or indicative of a turnaround. I sincerely hope it's the latter.


Bottom line: Would I eat there again? Absolutely yes, without question. One of my new favorite casual dining places, right up there with Huey's and Young Avenue Deli.

Local On The Square
2126 Madison Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104

Local on the Square on Urbanspoon

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