Saturday, December 24, 2011

Local Foods

2424 Dunstan

This new sandwich shop in the Village, next door to and owned by benjy's, has been getting lots of positive reviews in the short time it's been open, in the press and on user review sites. And unlike the flurry of rave reviews that frequently accompany new places on user review sites, these accolades actually seem to be written by someone other than the owner, sitting at the keyboard, menu propped up alongside. (Disclaimer: I have the menu propped up next to the keyboard, but I am not the owner). Local Foods serves a small menu of sandwiches, soups and salads made from locally sourced ingredients. It occupies the space formerly occupied by the Original Antone's Po Boy shop, which has moved out on Bellaire at Wesleyan.

I had noted the raves about the seafood sandwich with Gulf shrimp and Texas Blue Crab. Well, I have had this thing about seafood of late so I was off to try it.

Very impressive, and a very generous sandwich and sides for the price - tender shrimp and crab with house-made green goddess dressing. Best sandwich ever? as some have raved. Well, I don't know about that but it's certainly in the running as best seafood sandwich I've ever had. I felt I was going to be hard-pressed to bring myself to try anything else on the menu.

For my sides I chose the Tuscan kale with golden raisins and toasted pine nuts and the white bean, bacon, grape tomato and dill and was equally pleased.

My dining companion went for the house-made pastrami with caraway sauerkraut and provolone on rye. He pronounced himself very satisfied. I got to sample only a small bit of this but definitely plan to try one for myself one of these days. He was not that pleased with his sides, red skinned potato, oregano, sherry vinegar and dijon aioli and the quinoa, olive, carrot and oregano. He said they both needed salt; I didn't try either of them.

On another visit, I tried the Avocado, Potato, Leek and Chive soup, topped with house-made potato crisps with a side of the butternut squash, cilantro, red chili and Thai basil. Though I didn't taste much avocado the soup really hit the spot and once again I was very pleased with the side, but at $4 for a 1/3 to 1/2 cup portion, sides ordered a la carte are kind of pricey.

I had seen bags of benjy's blend from Katz's on display on my first visit but didn't spot any coffee being served; on my second visit, there were airpots of coffee, leaded and decaff, in another corner, a welcome addition.

On my first visit on a blustery, balmy autumn day, the doors had been propped open, the winds occasionally gusting into the interior, the trees in the parking lot swaying constantly, I felt far removed from the hustle of the big city, almost like I was at some seaside cafe overlooking a coastline (not the Texas coast, either). I loved the eclectic seating and minimalist decor. My second visit came on a shiveringly cold day, however, and with the doors closed, the hard surfaces of the walls and floor and glass reflecting sounds made the space seem very impersonal and harsh. Nevertheless this is a welcome addition to the small list of places in the Village I'm willing to hazard the traffic and parking situation to take advantage of.

Local Foods

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