As much as I try to keep up with new restaurants, I have to admit that The Local Chicago is one of those places that has consistently flown under my radar ever since its opening in 2012. However, with a recent change in chef and updates to the menu, the restaurant has been getting a new round of buzz... which finally made its way to my little corner of the world! A sister restaurant to the popular Chicago Cut Steakhouse, The Local offers a little slice of rustic America with a modern twist right in the heart of the city.
Located just off of the Mag Mile inside the Hilton Suites Hotel, the restaurant has Americana theme and a menu filled with updated comfort food to match its homey decor, as well as appeal to city diners looking for a simple, yet still sophisticated experience. While I'm definitely not someone who would typically intentionally seek out a restaurant that focuses on traditional dishes, as I'm far more apt to gravitate toward a modern sushi joint or tiny neighborhood taqueria, I have to say there's something refreshing about an unpretentious spot that offers good ol' American classics (especially when those classics include some delicious mac & cheese!).
Not only does The Local offer regional favorites, it also sources the bulk of its ingredients from familiar Midwestern vendors (Slagel Family Farm, Local Folks Food, Crystal Valley Farms); in addition, they offer exclusive beers from Chicago favorites Two Brothers Brewing and Revolution Brewery on tap, as well as an extensive wine list worthy of its posh neighborhood location.
Gigi and I kicked off our lunch by exploring all of the nooks and crannies filled with numerous cutesy and interesting objects (many of which were found in Midwestern antique stores).
Gigi and I both loved this adorable Betty Boop figurine hanging above our table!
After thoroughly exploring the space, we finally sat down to a plate Tuna Tartare with avocado, Fresno chilies, wonton chips, and sesame ginger aoli. As has been fairly well-established by now, I'm a huge fan of tuna tartare and will order it just about every time I find it on a menu - I particularly enjoyed this version, thanks to the huge chunks of avocado, slight heat from the chilies, and the addictive light & crispy wonton chips.
How awesome are their star plates?!
We followed the Tuna Tartare with an East Coast/West Coast Oyster tasting: Delaware vs. Bodega Bay. The oyster offerings at The Local are flown in daily (which isn't always the case with some non-seafood restaurants in Chicago). While I'm a fan of all oysters, I have to say the smaller West Coast oysters were especially flavorful!
While we didn't intentionally decide to have a seafood feast, we just so happened to gravitate toward the seafood side of the menu (as it all sounded so delicious!). Gigi and I both highly enjoyed this Lobster Mac & Cheese - it was the perfect amount of gooey, creamy cheese and chunks of buttery lobster.
Out of everything we sampled, this New England Lobster Roll was my least favorite, but only because there was quite a bit celery in it (one of my most-hated foods!). However, I did appreciate the large pieces of lobster and toasted, buttery roll.
Finally, we ended our meal with the only non-seafood dish of the day (and one of my favorites!): the Oreo Mint Ice Cream Pie with Oreo cookie crust, mint chip gelato, and chocolate sauce. If you're a fan of the mint/chocolate combo, this swoon-worthy and perfectly presented dessert is an absolute must order!
If you're looking for a Gold Coast stop with a causal atmosphere, friendly servers, and some quality classic American dishes, The Local Chicago is definitely worth a try! You can sample all of this deliciousness and more at: 198 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago, IL.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.