Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Local 127 in Cincinnati

I don't often write about restaurants that are not in the Cleveland area, but the meal that we had at Local 127 in Cincinnati two weeks ago is worth sharing.

I had to travel to Cincinnati and Indianapolis for work, so "R" and I started poking around online to try and find some local, independently-owned restaurants to check out while in town. A site, similar to our Cleveland Independents group, led us to Local 127. It ended up being only two blocks from our hotel in downtown Cincinnati, and the menu looked like it was right up our alley with their farm-to-table concept and seasonal dishes.Even on a Tuesday night at 8PM, the restaurant was almost full and certainly had a lot of energy. The lime green walls, playful art, and decorative accents were whimsical and hip. We decided to start with two "Smaller Plates"- the Chicken & Potato Dumplings and Cheesy Grits.
The three "dumplings" were actually house-made gnocchi, which were light and creamy. The crunch from the tiny toasted "chips" added a nice texture to the dish. Both starters were very good, but I did slightly prefer the grits. As you can see, they included crispy bacon and a drizzle of hot sauce. The flavors and textures worked so well together. But I would order both again.

I decided to get the Sea Scallops with lentils, bacon, puffed rice, and smoked trout sauce.The scallops were large, and perfectly seared. There was a sweetness to the crust, and they were translucent when I cut into them. The puffed rice was a fun addition to the plate. "R" ordered the Duck, Duck, Duck with wild rice, pistachios, dried cherries, and thyme jus.The medium-rare meat was tender and juicy. I love the combination of cherries and thyme with the duck.

Completely full, and so happy with our meal, we wanted to resist the Dessert Menu. However, the Cheese Plate caught our eye. All of the cheeses came from a local Cincinnati farm, and the items served with them sounded interesting.The cheeses were served with things such as: local honey, candied apricots, dried cherries, pistachios, and fig spread. While I love trying different things with cheeses to see how they play with the flavor of the cheese, these were served directly on the cheese and a lot of the cheese itself was drowned out. I wanted to be able to try them each on their own, but it just wasn't possible.

This was honestly one of the best meals we've had in a while, with each dish being thoughtful and full of flavor. "R" even said- "I don't normally want to meet a chef, but this makes me want to shake his hand." Also, the chef is a master sommelier and he selected a wonderful wine for us. It makes such a difference when a chef is knowledgeable about pairings.

So, if you are ever in Cincinnati for a night and are looking for a place to eat downtown- don't miss Local 127. It will remind you a lot of Cleveland.

Local 127
413 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Local 127  on Urbanspoon