On Wednesday night I went to Local 149 to see John Mayer.
Okay, I went because a girlfriend said she needed someone to listen to her and I said I would, but I chose 149 with specific designs on visiting John.
If you don’t know John Mayer (the Boston bartender, not the Connecticut Pop artist), the bad news is your life is a tiny bit less good than it could be. The good news is you can probably fix that pretty easily. He is definitely the other reason you should go.
The first reason you should go is the food.
Thanks to life, John was not at Local on Wednesday, and I found out that when you go to a restaurant and aren’t chatting up your friends you actually pay more attention to the food.
The first time I ate there (a regrettable five months ago), I had the confit duck mousse and the chicken and waffles. I was highly distracted and was eating mostly as a defense against the high abv beers I was drinking. I thought the mousse was great and the presentation felt like being at home. The chicken in the chicken in waffles was exceptional –crisp, juicy flavorful. The waffles (blueberry) were whimsical and just the right amount of sweet if maybe a bridge too far on the starch factor when taking the dish as a whole. Coffee at the end of the night was served in mismatched mugs, another touch of home. But so much other stuff happened that night that the food got lost.
So when I went again my expectations were smeared by some mixed reviews I had read, and actually kind of on the back burner because of the discussion I knew was coming and the discussion I hoped was coming.
And then my tuna burger arrived.
There were pickles. House pickles. Not just cucumbers -cauliflower, carrots, onions. They were good: that just right tang with a hint of sweet. They were fresh: vegetables retained their crispness and native flavor. The pickled carrot tasted like pickling and carrot. I kind of devoured them. They were kind enough to offer me more.
There were tostones. In a scenic row atop some kind of spicy catsup/mojo/barbecue frankensaucesomeness that seemed like it should only be there to give the plate that je ne sais quoi. Mais non, je sais quoi. C’est magnifique! The sauce was too spicy for me. I had to keep pausing and waiting for my mouth to stop tingling before I pressed on. But I did not want to stop.
And then the burger itself is dressed with more pickles, onion marmalade and eggplant bacon. All of these things are good. What makes them good is that you can taste each element and understand that each element has a purpose. I loved it. The only thing that didn’t wow me was the burger. It’s a patty of diced blue fin that they sear. This didn’t work for me with all the other elements so they (blasphemy, I know) cooked it through for me, which was just right. Don’t get me wrong, I will eat my toro, but this burger is not that.
So go. Make sure you read the chalkboards. I was sad I didn’t have room for dessert or some of the specials. I have a (possibly misguided) faith in a place that can make a tuna burger not only good, but exciting. I would, without hesitation order anything on the menu and expect it to be really enjoyable. Meet John if he’s there. If he’s not, meet the rest of the crew, they have easy smiles and provide warm, efficient service.
And if eating there wasn’t somehow enough to make you feel glad to be alive, wander down to Columbia Rd. Watch the planes coming into Logan and feel the huge, magnificent darkness where the night meets the sea. You’ll be glad you went.
Local 149 is located at 149 P Street, South Boston, MA 617 269 0900