Local Wine & Kitchen, Ardmore, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on October 31, 2016

in Artful Diner Review, Opinion, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining

Local Wine & Kitchen

39 Lancaster Avenue

Ardmore, Pennsylvania

(610) 896-4740


 A native of Wynnewood, Local’s proprietor, Stefan Gagliano, grew up in the restaurant business. He was 3 when his father, Domenico, opened Positano Ristorante, which still resides just down the block at 21 Lancaster; 4 years later, the elder Gagliano followed up with Café San Pietro… Interestingly enough, two years ago, San Pietro closed its doors and became home to Stefan’s own Local Wine & Kitchen.

local-wine-kitchen-interior-wine-bar-3San Pietro’s beautiful stained-glass skylight is still very much in evidence, as is the attractive polished dark wood bar… Other than that, however, the interior has undergone a sleek, contemporary makeover. Rich gray walls sparkle with creamy white touches and colorful works of art, with new tables and seating arrangements adding to the sophisticated but decidedly comfortable and laid-back ambiance… So park in the metered lot around back, head up the alley, slip in the side door, and hang a left into the bar. You’ll feel right at home the moment you cross the threshold.

local-wine-kitchen-charcuterie-tuscan-salami… But it’s the cuisine that causes the stir here. The food is locally sourced, cosmopolitan in scope, driven by seasonality, and very, very good… with Local’s unique charcuterie bar leading the way. This first-of-its-kind on the Main Line offers patrons an assortment of cured meats and cheeses companioned by a variety of house-made accoutrements – with presentations as eye-catching as they are delicious. The perfect spot to indulge, of course, is at the bar, although the charcuterie may also be enjoyed at table as a solo appetizer or (depending upon the size ordered) suitable for sharing among several diners. And the wine list – available by the glass or bottle – proves the perfect complement, with a select choice of vintages from around the world and as local as the Lehigh Valley’s Galen Glen Winery.

Should you decide to forgo the charcuterie for another time, there are still a number of interesting ways to begin your evening’s dining excursion. The salads here, for example, make excellent starters. And forget any visions you may have of wilted iceberg, anemic tomatoes, and gloppy, tasteless dressings; Local’s entries in the salad sweepstakes are artfully conceived, beautifully presented, and marvelously flavorful combinations of colors, tastes and textures.

local-wine-kitchen-grilled-romaine-heartThe tender leaves of Russian red kale, for instance, are teamed up with grilled Brussels sprouts, toasted lentil sprouts, and splashed with an intriguing hazelnut lemon dressing. Top-notch… But even better, in my opinion, is the grilled romaine heart (pictured). This prelude has become all the rage of late, but it’s easily mucked up. Local’s kitchen, however, is right on target. The greenery receives a tender kiss from the grill, while pomegranate seeds, torn croutons, and shaved parmesan provide amicable accompaniments. The real kicker, however, is a palate pleasing infusion of horseradish sauce.

local-wine-kitchen-cauliflower-salad-w-chickpeasMy nod, however, would undoubtedly go to the somewhat unusual – and unusually delicious – cauliflower salad. The florets are perfectly blanched, with just enough texture to add an interesting crunch to the proceeding; and this contrasts quite nicely with the softer consistency of the chickpeas and crispness of a tiara of fried leeks. The culinary catalyst, however, is the incomparably seasoned sauce of whipped cumin feta. Addictive is a word often overused in restaurant reviews… but, in this instance, it is certainly appropriate. A combo of cauliflower & chickpeas could be about as exciting as a wilted head of lettuce… but that incredible cumin-spiked feta just keeps you coming back for more.

local-wine-kitchen-gnocchiOn the other hand, if you’re looking for something with a bit more substance, you can’t go wrong with the house-made gnocchi, which walks a sumptuously fine line between appetizer and entrée. Just be advised… though the dumplings are as light as a feather, and ably supported by shiitake & porcini mushrooms and fresh oregano, the outrageously opulent cream sauce makes this a very rich dish, indeed. So you’ll probably want to share it as an appetizer… but even as a main course – unless you have the digestive capability of a ravening hyena – it may, gastronomic discretion being the better part of peristaltic valor, necessitate a doggie bag.

local-wine-kitchen-poached-halibutAs you move on to the entrées proper, there is absolutely no question that the poached Atlantic halibut should be numero uno on your dining agenda. Pristinely white of countenance and beguilingly textured, the filet is set on a seabed of sliced red bliss potatoes and swims to table in a pungent broth redolent of lemongrass & ginger. The crowning touch…? A seductive avocado basil drizzle. If you’re a dedicated seafood fan, as I am, this is one you won’t want to miss.

local-wine-kitchen-yorkshire-pork-tenderloinAnd when it comes to meatier matters, the Yorkshire pork tenderloin is yet another succulent sine qua non. The tenderloin is sliced appetizing thin and pan roasted… yet it remains juicy and tender throughout, demonstrating not even a hint of dryness. It is then place on a colorful, piquant pillow of red cabbage sauerkraut and topped with an apple-curry compote spiked with star anise. The various flavors, as you would surmise, are quite assertive; but rather than fighting each other like riled up strangers – kudos to the chef – they remain perfectly complementary to the dish as a whole.

local-wine-kitchen-coffee-braised-rabbit-pappardelleLast, but certainly not least, if you’re a pasta devotee, the pappardelle replete with coffee-braised rabbit is an absolutely marvelous choice. The pappardelle itself is perfectly firm to the bite, the morsels of rabbit moist, tender, and alive with hints of chocolate. Add a smattering of peas and local greens, a healthy dose of roasted tomatoes, and a savory port-infused broth, and you have a soul-satisfying recipe for success.

local-wine-kitchen-yogurtDessert choices are rather meager. Thus far, I’ve sampled the restaurant’s pineapple tart, which was quite good, and the frozen yogurt (pictured), which was simple but absolutely sublime. It may not look like much, but it is the artful interplay of flavors – sweet strawberry sauce, balsamic syrup, and basil leaves – that propels this dish into orbit. The perfect ending to any meal.

local-wine-kitchen-interior-wine-bar-2Dining at Local Wine & Kitchen is a uniquely satisfying experience. The atmosphere is sophisticated but not at all pretentious (whether decked out in jeans or adorned in sartorial finery, you’re bound to feel right at home here); the food is carefully prepared and imaginatively presented; the service is knowledgeable and enthusiastic; and the price is right. The only possible drawback is that the restaurant’s menu is somewhat limited … However, since our server informed us that the bill of fare changes monthly, this is really a nonissue.

Local Wine & Kitchen is highly recommended on all counts…

Bon Appétit!


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: