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September 27, 2012 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-09-27

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the wine spectator
award of Excellence


- Wednesdays -
1/2 Off Bottles of
Champagne $100 or
Less and 1/2 off Oysters

• Available for private
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150 people 7 days a




Fr 11 1



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36 October 201211D


Local Kitchen
and Bar

f you've been curious to try fried
green tomatoes ever since seeing
the 1991 Kathy Bates' movie of
that name, Local Kitchen and Bar
in Ferndale is the place where your
curiosity could turn into a craving.
The titular tomato slices dipped
in panko crumbs have a light, crispy
texture. Complementing them are
smears of three sauces: roasted red
pepper purée, red-pepper jam and
especially the goat cheese crème.
This simple but pumped-up
appetizer sets the tone for a menu
of familiar, well-crafted food.
"We've been pretty busy since
we opened on Aug. 37 said Chef
Rick Halberg, a Culinary Institute
of America graduate best known
for his upscale restaurant Emily in
Northville. It closed in 2006. Food-
ies brightened at news that Halberg
would-be starting anew in Ferndale.
The chef said he and his business
partner, Brian Siegel, were attracted
to Ferndale's booming dining and
bar scene, which attracts a "young,
hip, urban crowd."
For his new, more casual restau-
rant, Halberg embraced the trend of
diners wanting wholesome, healthy
food that is locally sourced —"farm
fresh"— as Americans of previous
generations enjoyed.
"We have two or three local farm-
ers we use for produce as much as
possible," said Halberg, who devel-
oped the recipes executed by Chef
de Cuisine Ricky McCormick. Hal-
berg himself cooks at Local Kitchen's
monthly wine or beer dinners in
the upstairs banquet space. Among
the craft cocktails, I'm told Standing
Ovation is "awesome:'
Most items are selling well, Hal-
berg said, citing popular choices like
"our fantastic burger" on a challah
bun, barbecued beef brisket sliders,
chicken-fried chicken, and Emily
and summer Panzanella salads.
I liked Pappardelle, a wide egg
pasta that comes with Bolognese
meat sauce or my choice with veg-
gies. The bistro steak topped with
crispy leeks was fine, but I loved
every kernel of a side dish, Mexican
Street Corn. The grilled fresh corn
halves are coated with chili-lime
mayo and queso cotija, a crumbly,
salty cheese.
Supplementing the daily menu
are shellfish and fin fish specials
—"exceptionally fresh fish flown
to Chicago and trucked here ev-
ery day," as Halberg explained.
Another special is the rotating
pot pie.





By Esther Allweiss Ingber


Open for dinner Monday - Saturday


• Tuesday -
1/2 off any bottle of wine
under $100

"We sometimes serve a traditional
one, like chicken pot pie, but usually
the selections are inspired by the
pot pie concept;' he said. Recently,
the choice was braised beef with
scalloped potatoes and gremoulade
sauce (lemon rind, parsley and gar-
lic). Also house-made and homey
are Local Kitchen's ice cream, com-
plimentary mini-cornbread muffins
and soda pop from its own syrups,
currently blueberry and orange-
honey ginger ale.
Another aspect of Halberg's vision
was creating a relaxing environ-
ment. He accompanied designer
Ron Rhea and associates to find the
"country farm" antique items that
lend nostalgic warmth. In the main
dining room, look for a wicker hay-
reaper suspended overhead, a shelf
of pillar candles topping antique
scales and a display of farm imple-
ments above a cupboard on the
back wall.
The high-ceilinged room has
muted colors and stucco walls. A
metallic bar is near the entrance.
Striped dishcloths serve as napkins
on bare wood tables. We poured
water from a glass milk bottle at the
large "community table;' where din-
ers can mingle.
A glass front and some glass side
walls show off a cozy, wood-burning
fireplace on the spacious outdoor
patio. Heading into fall, electric
heaters are being installed to ex-
tend the dining, lounging, people-
watching season. The same fireplace
is enjoyed from comfy seats inside
the restaurant. Two garage doors
roll open to the outside seating
Local Kitchen opens daily at 5
p.m., the kitchen closing at 10 (11
on Friday and Saturday). Weekend
brunch will start soon. Once running
smoothly, Halberg will add lunch.
Reservations are accepted for
parties of five and up, but tables
may be held with a 30-minute call
ahead. RT



344W. Nine Mile Road
Ferndale, MI 48220
(248) 291-5650
$$$ out of $$$$$


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