Review: Local 149, South Boston, MA

Local 149
On the outside, Local 149 resembles a boathouse. Angular and covered with wooden planks, it has an industrial, yet modern feel to it. Stepping into the boisterously crowded and dimly lit space, the decor is art-deco meets vintage meets gastro pub. Seated at a chalk-board covered table off to the side and somewhat removed from all the action of the centrally located bar, my meal began with the duck drumsticks ($9). Topped with a berry barbecue sauce and dusted with sesame and hemp seeds, they were served atop a bed of apple jicama slaw. The first bite revealed a dried out and faintly smokey bite of duck that was drenched in a sauce that didn't offer much of the promised berry flavor. The slaw that the drumsticks was served on tasted simply like apples and jicama coated in mayo, which made them soggy, robbing the slaw of the crunch that should have been present. Additionally the absence of acid and proper seasoning was strongly felt.

Duck Drumsticks
For my main dish I ordered the Lamb T-Bone ($19) which was described on the menu as "Summer Lamb Sausage, Crispy Polenta, Watermelon and Watercress Salad, Greek Yogurt". When the dish arrived, the first thing of note was the beautiful plating. A petite lamb steak was centrally placed over a sprawling landscape of artfully positioned and brightly colored cubes of watermelon, watercress tendrils and delicately sliced radishes. Also on the plate were three slices of sausage, a fried and unidentifiable quenelle and splatters of a spicy sauce that was reminiscent of the berry sauce that coated the drumsticks.

Lamb T-Bone

The dish itself, while pretty in presentation, was a let down in flavor. The strong peppery flavor of the radishes and watercress paired with the spiced sauce was too much for the watermelon to tame on its own. The lamb, while cooked well, should have been the star of the dish, but instead, was sort of boring when stacked up against the other aggressive elements. The sausage was intensely spiced and had a gamey (in a good way) taste to it. Nowhere on my plate was the crispy polenta and the quenelle seemed to be some sort of deep fried yogurt creation that took on a grainy texture similar to cottage cheese. I was only able to derive a couple bites from the entire plate, leaving me still hungry at the end of the meal.

Chalkboard Tables
Overall, I had a hard time grasping the concept of the restaurant and its menu, which seemed to be lacking focus. I appreciate the house-made touches (even if they were out of two of their three house-made bacon options) and locally sourced ingredients, but it felt as if it was trying too hard to be impressive, instead of just being impressive. While I applaud risks to be taken in the name of culinary excitement, the challenge lies in pulling it all together to create a balanced meal. All items on the plate should be working together to create new tastes that work together and unfortunately, was not something that Local 149 achieved.

Local 149 on Urbanspoon


Boston Food Diary said...

Such a shame...I haven't heard much positive about Local 149, it's so sad that you also had a bad experience. Sounds like they have good ideas, but poor execution for sure

Jen said...

Bummer that your dinner was such a bust.

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