North Scottsdale Dining at Local Bistro

Written by Gwen Ashley Walters Category: Food Reviews Issue: July 2011
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And what a cool place to hang: The vibe is urban comfort – modern but not stark. I love the juxtaposition of sliced citrus for your water, presented on a silver tray, followed by delivery of warm ciabatta in a paper sack.

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Don’t even think about skipping the drunk bread ($12, dinner only). A searing hot cast-iron skillet holds the most glorious slab of wine-soaked ciabatta, smothered in bubbling, browned Gruyère, with a good dose of butter and herbs. Enough said.

I’ll never tire of caprese ($12) when it’s this good. Local Bistro delivers a stunning stack of juicy tomatoes, house-made mozzarella and torn basil, drizzled with grassy olive oil and aged balsamic.
You can’t go wrong ordering pasta, whether it’s the not-really-spicy bucatini all’amatriciana ($14) with pancetta, tomatoes, scallions and a hint of garlic (our server swore the chef serves this to his own mother) or the house-made pappardelle bolognese ($16) with fat ribbons bathed in meat sauce. I had my eye on the next table’s spaghetti alla carbonara, with an oozing egg yolk, but it’s only available upon request.

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The creamy risottos make me swoon. Two are on the menu, plus a daily risotto. Once it was lobster and mushroom ($18) with a healthy portion of crustacean chunks and an earthy risotto base. On another occasion it was saffron risotto with a lamb shank, osso buco-style ($17) and a sprinkling of dried mint – sublime. The juicy, bone-in Berkshire pork chop, with a pineapple port demi-glace, sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes ($14) is also terrific.

The wood-fired pizzas Napoletana-style are respectable but don’t measure up to others around town. It’s not the toppings – such as two-year-aged pepperoni ($12) or wild mushroom, arugula and a whisper of truffle oil ($14). It’s the crust. It’s perfectly blistered and thin, but it lacks flavor.

Desserts skew Italian – hazelnut panna cotta ($7), Nutella calzone ($10), and a jumbo ramekin of perfect tiramisu ($6). The calzone is delicious but messy, and the tough pizza dough is impossible to cut.

After three visits, I’m convinced that Local Bistro means “neighborhood gem.”

Local Bistro

Italian/French bistro
Address: 20581 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale
Phone: 480-302-6050
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; happy hour 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Highlights: Drunk bread ($12), bucatini all’amatriciana ($14), wild mushroom pizza ($14), daily risotto ($17-$18), tiramisu ($6)

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