My birthday at Local 111

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The makings of a happy birthday.

By Jessica Pasko

You only get one birthday a year -- so you want to celebrate someplace really special, right? If you're looking for someplace with really good food and ambiance -- and you don't mind a pretty drive toward the Catskills, then I have the perfect place for you.

This year marks the second birthday dinner I've had at Local 111 in Philmont, near Hudson, and once again I can't stop raving.

When it comes to cuisine, I tend to like simple quality food done well. I'm also really into restaurants that rely heavily on local meats, vegetables, cheeses and other products. Local 111 definitely fits that bill.

The small 39 seat restaurant is about 45 minutes from Albany in Columbia County and it's housed in a converted auto body shop. When the weather's warm, the front is open with huge screen windows. In cooler weather, they close the garage doors, giving it a really funky, cozy look. The interior is simple, tasteful and chic, with a dark wood bar. It's all very feng shui.

But the best part about this place is the food. There's a small, condensed menu that changes frequently. There's typically a pork, fish, chicken and beef entree, along with a vegetarian option and several pasta dishes, which can also be ordered in smaller portions as appetizers.

On Sunday nights, there's a pre fixe menu with three courses for $25.

My friends and I started with a green bean, cherry tomato and corn salad with pecorino cheese and a basil vinaigrette ($9). It was clean, fresh, flavorful and tasted just like summer. We also tried the homemade chorizo, which came with grilled peaches, a pea shoot salad with creme fraiche, and a white bean and mint salad. Delicious but we would have liked more chorizo, of course. I also had the grilled scallop app, which came with a fennel salad, a yogurt dressing and pine nuts. As a scallop fan, I loved it -- they were perfectly cooked. The rest of my party isn't so much into scallops, but even they had to agree the dish was good.

The wine list has some surprisingly affordable options too. We had a yummy 2007 cotes du rhone for $19.

For the main course, we had a grilled local pork chop served with creamed corn, bacon and potatoes. My chop ($25) was perfectly done -- but the real star may have been the creamed corn. I've always thought of that as something relegated to canned goods, but this stuff was delicious. Rich, creamy, sweet, salty - I could have eaten an entire plate of it. The house made orrecchiette with sausage, fennel, pecorino, arugula and pine nuts ($18 for entree portion) was still provoking swoons of pleasure the next day. Really.

And of course, what's a birthday celebration without dessert? We had an order of the cantaloupe sorbet, an order of the malted chocolate ice cream, two individual servings of local cheeses and the chocolate flourless cake with cherry compote and fresh whipped cream. The sorbet might have been the standout, surprisingly. Really full of flavor.

Local 111 brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the table that is unfortunately kind of rare around these parts. The prices really aren't too bad, considering what you get and I really like the restaurant's commitment to farm to table practices. All in all it made for a very happy birthday.

Find It

Local 111
111 Main Street
Philmont, NY 12565

518-672-7801

Comments

Philmont... Who knew..

Come on! There are still no quotes or anything! Jessica! :)

I totally concur; ate there a few weeks back while on a quick vacay in columbia county. It was hopping on a Sunday night; service was excellent, and food so so yummy. I kept trying to figure out why none of the Albany restaurants do it for me. Maybe I'm a country gal. Anyway, its totally worth the drive!

Glad to hear that your birthday eating wasn't just limited to the omelet.

One of these days I will make it to this place. It sounds fantastic. But first I either need to get my car fixed, or get another car. If only there were a place like this in Albany, then not only could I enjoy some tasty local vittles, but I could do it without such a significant carbon footprint.

oh yeah! the other thing is that its a Farm to Table restaurant, voted one of the top 25 in the country I think. So everything is local, on principle. Suffice to say, our waiter had grown the spinach in my salad himself!

Copperpot (or is this really Sebastian?) - I can see your point previously, but I don't see how a restaurant review requires quotes. Anyone?

Also. a confession- my "friends" equals my parents and b-friend.

@jess: nah that was me. Was just teasing Copperpot for his classic comment. I, for one, can't wait to try Local 11 in a wet suit.

-S, I would suggest a size for you but I wouldn't want to hurt your feelings.

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