Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Local Peasant - Bread Pudding Worth Sneaking Out of the Palace For

The SFV generally gets a bad rep for suburban quality everything.  But if you take a closer look, there are more and more neighborhood gems springing up here.

The Local Peasant is one of them - I love that it doesn't aspire to be anything other than what its name evokes - an informal gathering place for those in the community.  There is, however, one menu item  that should draw even culinary royalty - whether or not they feel the need to be incognito, visiting this plebeian part of town - more on this later in the post.
On the less hip stretch of Ventura (West of the Studio City, in Sherman Oaks), a stone's throw from other popular brunch spot Sweet Butter, The Local Peasant has a laid back vibe, with its rustic wood paneled decor and giant frosted windows that on a warm day opens out for great people watching.  They serve beer, wine and Pre and Post Prohibition cocktails.  Always down for savory drinks, I loved the Basil Pepper Martini ($10) which was a gorgeous golden color, light, and refreshing.

Then there was the Rainbow Heirloom Salad ($12) with Santa Barbara heirloom tomatoes, red & yellow beets, burrata cheese with balsamic-lemon vinaigrette.  I didn't like this the first time I had it, as I made the mistake of ordering it when tomatoes were not in season, and I found the giant wedges awkward to eat - and I was not happy with how expensive it was for a salad.  My second visit was at the height of summer, and as I went with a friend who loves fresh in season veggies, we gave this salad another try.  Second time round I fell in love with this salad - it's all about the ingredients with this one, and we happened to catch them when the tomatoes and beets were at perfect ripeness, luscious and deliciously, subtly sweet.  That second time made me recognize that Santa Barbara was more than just amazing sea urchin, spot prawns, and wine.  Their heirloom tomatoes are incredible as well.  And that time I didn't mind the plating as the portion size for the farm fresh fare felt like it gave us our money's worth.

Then there was the Fish & Chips ($14) beer battered red snapper with housemade tartar sauce.  The fish was fresh, though the batter was on the soggy side.  We liked that the malt vinegar on the side was presented in a little spray bottle, the better for even distribution on fries without causing them to lose their crunch.
I was in the mood for - and loved the price of - The Peasant Burger ($10) grassfed beef patty with cheese, onion, fried egg and 'special sauce'. A tasty, juicy burger, not mind blowing but good enough that you don't even care if sauce and egg yolk gets all over your face.
And for the grand finale: Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding ($8) with booker bourbon cream sauce.  This might be the best bread pudding I've tasted in the city!

Served in a giant ceramic...tub...this bread pudding is hefty yet light, packed with chocolate flavor without being overwhelming, served steaming hot (the only way to do bread pudding properly!), topped by a beautiful crust dusted with powdered sugar, that could reduce anyone to tears.  All that and it would be easy to miss the adorable little jar on the side, of booker bourbon cream sauce (that is more the consistency of milk) which sends this way, way over the edge, in the best way.

While some of the other dishes we tasted were good, this bread pudding IS.IT.  If you are ever find yourself this side of town, and at The Local not leave without trying this bread pudding.  I think I just triggered a craving while writing this...the place IS open til 2am daily...tempted to get dressed to drive over...

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites  
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 5 bites
Ambience -  5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100% 


The Local Peasant
14058 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Ph: 818.501.0234


The Local Peasant on Urbanspoon

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