May 4, 2012
One of the more excruciating waits in local foodie memory ends tonight, when Lokal (659-5886) does its first dinner in the space that was once the Chatterbox in Carmel Valley Village.
The Weekly debuted word of the project with a winter Wine & Food cover story called "Lokal Yokels: Brendan Jones recruits a partner from Prague to give the area an infusion of foodie energy. " Click over for an idea of the Cachagua General Store and European experience that informs Jones' creative-but-down-home fare. For a nibble at a preliminary menu and an early look inside the spot, check out the blog post "Peeking Into Carmel Valley's Lokal, Its Menu and Its Future."
After enough code headaches to merit a major investment in Advil stock, Jones and partner Matthew Zolan opened for breakfast and lunch this week. Longtime local server-bartender-wine mind Eli Severson has signed on to direct wine traffic.
A reliable tastebuddy reports a splendid lunch yesterday, in an easy modern space that was already packed with wine- and food-savvy folks, with some of them already scrawling on the grey chalkboard-painted walls.
She loved her "drunken pork sandwich" with pulled (and roasted) hog with caramelized onions and fresh greens sided by a lively tomato soup—and says they were sold out of the burger by 1. Also adorable: That combo plus a nice glass of Chesebro Chardonnay—one of a number of local-only wines offered—for $15.
The phone was ringing off the hook, so anticipate a lil' reservation chaos if you call. Better play might be to swing by near the early side, drop a name, then swing by one of the many nearby tasting rooms for a pre-dinner sipper.
Here's a peek at Jones' menu, which will shift constantly:
Pear salad • Pears, Parsnips, Lettuce, Yuzu Dressing, Blue Cheese Foam
Burnt Caesar Salad • Romaine, Caesar Dressing, Asiago, Anchovie/Crutons
Mac and Cheese Balls
Wedge • Iceberg, Blue Dressing, Blue Cheese
Cabbage Soup • Cabbage, Mustard Ice Cream
Beet Salad • Beets, Coconut/Goat dressing, Balsamic Sphere, Black Rice Krispies
Butternut Squash • Butternut, Marshmallow, Tempura, Pumpkin Seeds
Zolan Spring Salad • Crispy Artichoke, Asparagus, Fennel, Onion, Bell Pepper, Pine Nuts, Meyer Lemon, Olive Oil Foam
Fungi Pasta • Pasta, Local Mushrooms, Schoch Cheese
Soil and Roots • Roasted Veggies, Coffee, Israeli Cous cous, Sea Greens Herbs
Ceviche • Fish, Cilantro, Krackin's, Citrus,
Oysters • Oysters, Beet/Pablano/Vanilla-Olive Mignonette
Fish N' Cream • Monk fish, Parsnip, Cream, Tatsoi, Photato
Sardine Bocadilla • Sardine, Bread, Mojito Aioli
Canned Clams • Fresh Clams, Bread
TunaX3 • Tuna (Taretare, Seared, Cured) Wasabi, Wasabi Arugula, Seaweed
Salmon • Salmon, Squash, Zucchini, Carrot Butter
Roasted Chicken • Chicken, Potatoes, Gravy
TareTare • Beef, Tarragon Ice Cream
Sweat Breads • Cauliflower, Beet Chips, Sweat Breads
"Come On Pants" • Cibata, Uni
Steak • New York, Horseradish Yogurt, Spud Skins,
Chicken Wings • Wings, Blue cheese, Celery, Polenta
Bones • Marrow, Local Mushrooms, Bread
Pork Chop • Pork, Scalloped Potatoes, Caramilized Onion Sauce