I’ve had the great pleasure of sampling the culinary delights at Local Three twice in the last couple of weeks, once as a sneak preview and then again on Monday night for dinner (both times thanks to my friend, Sean, of The Hungry Southerner – check out their website for some great video from the Local Three kitchen!). A collaboration between the owner’s of them much celebrated Muss & Turner’s and Chef Chris Hall, Local Three is comfortable, inviting you to “sit deep & stay long” and eat to your heart’s content!
Local Three resides in The Piazza at Paces in the space formerly known as JOEL Brasserie – the difference is astounding. From the Velvet Elvis and the Velvet Dude who greet you in the foyer to the re-purposed wood wall full of homey textures to the whimsical pig artwork, celebrating one of the restaurant’s featured meat – pork, of course – you immediately feel at home in the space. No stuffy white tablecloths, no fear of laughing too loud or causing a ruckus – your menu is your placemat and you feel like you’ve come home.
The atmosphere and the food are relaxed, but that doesn’t mean the kitchen is sleeping on the job. Chef Chris Hall has taken classic Southern, comfort food tastes and upped the ante on sophistication, without making you feel underdressed in your jeans and boots. Because we were at a preview dinner, I had the unique opportunity to try, well, way too much food Monday night. I already feel like I’m a Local Three regular!
While we couldn’t try everything (though we wanted to), there were a few stars of our starters. The Butter Poached Main Lobster (with gnocchi, carrot, ginger and taragon – pictured above, left) – the gnocchi were more-than-a-mouthful and deliciously melty. The Chicken Liver Mousse, a.k.a. “Meat Butter” (pictured above, middle) served with grilled bread and housemade cranberry jam – as someone who only recently discovered a love for chicken liver pate, this was heaven – smooth, creamy, nicely flavored, a true-stand-out. We fell in love with the Rosemary-Parmesan Popcorn (pictured above, right) – a salty, buttery, rich concoction, perfect for a light snack before your meal or with a couple of beers at the bar! (We heard rumors of some other popcorn flavors debuting later – one particularly yummy-sounding one involves bacon. Yes, I’m serious.) The true star of the starters, however, was The Notorious P.I.G., more commonly known as the Charcuterie Sampler Plate (pictured below) – five delicious cured meats served with cornichons, an incredible violet mustard and flatbread.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, the main dishes arrived. Being a fan of breakfast, I of course ordered “Breakfast for Dinner” a plate laden with Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Parmesan Scrambled Eggs, Riverview Farm Grits, and a Big Ol’ Biscuit & Gravy (pictured below, left) – the pork belly was crisp perfection, especially with the creamy-dreamy grits. (Since I was sampling everyone’s dishes, I could only afford a couple of bites, but my hubby enjoyed it when I got home, and it’s a big reason to go back – to be able to eat my own dinner!) Other dishes we tried: Duck Confit Cassoulet (pictured below, middle) with white beans, sausage and crusty bread; Grilled Hangar Steak with roasted root vegetables, spinach, and Bleu-cheese shallot butter; and Pan Seared Georgia Mountain Trout with crispy Brussels sprouts, apples, pistachios, and brown butter. Your mouth should be watering by now. The duck was tender and flavorful (and for those of you still laboring under the assumption that duck is greasy, think again!) and the Brussels sprouts made me enjoy a veggie I’ve feared since childhood.
The final gut-busting pleasure came with dessert. I feel we truly had the Dessert Triumvirate (pictured below) with our choices: Butternut Squash Flan with candied walnuts and maple syrup, Warm Apple Pie with wainter spices, applejack ice cream and cider-raisin sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Tang granita and pound cake croutons. We also tried the Chocolate and Passion Fruit “Float” with ginger ale, coconut cream and chocolate biscotti, but, while it was tasty, we felt it was incongruous with the rest of our choices – perhaps a better selection for the summer months.
While Local Three officially opens today for lunch and dinner, they are awaiting their liquor license, so call ahead to check – until the liquor license comes in, it’s BYOB. Open for lunch and dinner (but I cannot find their exact hours as their website is still under construction – my suggestion is to call first!) and possibly late night, Local Three is a place I want to go back to, and often.
WHERE: Local Three – 3290 Northside Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30327 (in The Piazza at Paces)