Locale Italian Kitchen
Bruised Apple – Plantation Dark Rum, Lairds Apple Brandy, Braulio Amaro, Lime Juice
Parmesan Cheese Crisps
Ricotta Fritters – Calabro Ricotta, Pickled Peppers, Castelvetrano Olives
Insalata Romana – ‘Caesar’ Dressing, Romaine Lettuce, Housemade Croutons
Fritto Misto – Lightly Battered Calamari, Pesciolini, Shrimp, Lemon, Pickled Ramp Aioli
Insalata Caprese – Market Tomatoes, Burrata, Basil Pesto
Beef Cheek Ravioli – Aceto Manodori, Parmigiano-Reggiano
Spaghetti alla Carrettiera – Cherry Tomato, Local Garlic Chive, Peperoncino
Margherita Pizza – Di Napoli Tomato, Sapori Bufala Mozzarella, Prime Growers Basil
Tempesta Mortadella Pizza – Fiore di Latte, Cured Lemon, Pistachio Pesto, Horseradish
Creekstone Farms Bone-In Dry-Aged Tomahawk – Sea Salt, Olive Oil
Parmigiano – Eggplant, Prime Growers Basil, Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella
Pollo al Forno – BoBo Farms Chicken, Polenta, Peperonata
Saltimbocca – Heritage Foods Pork, Galloni 24m Prosciutto, Marinated Chicories
Pan Seared Arctic Char – Oven Braised Leeks, Crispy Garlic, Mint, Calabrian Chili
Charred Broccolini – Chili, Lemon, Guanciale
Smashed Fried Potatoes – Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fresh Fried Herbs
Brentwood Sweet Corn – Garlic, Chili, Lime, Salt
Torta Caprese – Flourless Chocolate Cake, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Whipped Cream
Plantation Rum Budino – Fried Rosemary, Caramel
Slowly gathering steam in the Southwest, a Thursday in the middle of September found Locale Italian Kitchen firing on all cylinders, Nicole Brisson’s Food predictably outpacing anything nearby while a front of house led by Paulo Duran also lived up to high standards.
Given some time to settle in after June’s “Media” event, a compromised service displaying the good and bad about Locale’s little kitchen (and Las Vegas “food writers” that offer near-universal praise for fear of not getting invited to the next free meal,) it was as a party of nine that Carte-blanche was deferred to Chef Brisson, the $90 per-person budget not exceeded despite everyone leaving stuffed with several boxes of leftovers.
Setting out to explore the sort of Food one might find in rural Italy, artisan imports alongside locally-sourced Meats and Produce building a menu that is accessible yet interesting, it is beneath high ceilings that Locale spreads across seventy-five seats, the bar separated from main dining area by sliding barn doors while décor straddles a line between modern and farmhouse.
A partnership with Andy Hooper of Black Sheep, the relaxed atmosphere and quality Ingredients at a fair price welcoming families for lunch and dinner daily, it was with cocktails in hand and conversation flowing that dinner got started, complimentary Cheese Crisps a good choice in lieu of Bread service while Locale’s “Bruised Apple” saw the sweetness of Brandy and Rum kept in check by Citrus and Amaro.
Served in four courses, each plate described at length by Paulo or an educated server, it was focusing on a diversity of palates that appetizers arrived, the Ricotta Fritters an immediate highlight thanks to their lightness despite frying while Frito Misto also fared well between bites of two locally-sourced Salads.
A bit disappointed by Pastas during June’s dinner, but thrilled to report significant improvements in Spaghetti’s texture plus the addition of Nicole’s Beef Cheek Ravioli from Carnevino, course two also offered two Pizzas, the oblong crust a little under-proofed but still offering a good chew whether topped in traditional Tomatoes, Basil and Mozz or folds of Mortadella brightened by Lemons, Herbs and Horseradish.
Agreeing with a few gripes about the fact that Horseradish is not listed on Locale’s menu, the use of such a potent Ingredient (even in such a small quantity) enough to make several pass on the Mortadella Pie entirely, another off-menu addition was far more readily accepted, the Dry-Aged Tomahawk from Creekstone Farms a pleasant reminder of old-times inside The Palazzo as it was carved tableside before adding a pinch of Salt and Olive Oil.
Going all-in on Entrees, the Eggplant Parmigiano layered like Lasagna in individual vessels with Tomatoes and Cheese, those seeking something lighter should certainly not pass on intrepid Arctic Char cooked perfectly amidst Leeks and Chilis or BoBo Farms Chicken atop toothsome Cornmeal, though the real show-stopper comes in the form of thin medallions of Pork wrapped in Prosciutto with bitter Chicories.
Spicier than some may prefer on two of three Sides, the Corn in particular a dish that threatens to distort the palate against anything that follows, it was with serviceware re-set that Dessert arrived, two items previously tasted still enjoyable but definitely an area where there is room to grow.
FOUR STARS: While Blue Diamond may never be a destination for tourists, what Andy Hooper and Nicole Brisson have built at Locale Italian Kitchen is precisely what the area has been looking for. From Salads to Pizzas and Pasta to large-format Meats Locale truly has something for everyone and even mostly full the high ceilings keep noise levels low enough so that one needn’t shout to be heard.
RECOMMENDED: Ricotta Fritters, Beef Cheek Ravioli, Creekstone Farms Bone-In Dry-Aged Tomahawk, Saltimbocca, Pollo al Forno, Pan Seared Arctic Char, Parmigiano, Plantation Rum Budino.
AVOID: Brentwood Sweet Corn, Tempesta Mortadella Pizza (if you have any aversion to Horseradish)
TIP: Lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00am-2:30pm, Brunch beginning 10:30am Weekends, and Dinner Daily from 4:30-10:00pm
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.