REVIEW: Fort Collins’ ‘Locality will become a local favorite for years to come’
January 28, 2017
ADDRESS: 2350 East Harmony Rd #1, Fort Collins, CO 80528
TELEPHONE: (970) 568-8351
HOURS: daily 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
RATING (out of four stars): three and half stars
When people ask me what some of my favorite restaurants are, Door 222 in Loveland invariably comes to mind. So when I heard the same owners and chef were opening a restaurant in Fort Collins, I was pretty excited.
Locality is just as artfully designed and decorated as its sister restaurant, and its southside location has kept it bustling since it opened.
Set in the former Rustic Oven space on East Harmony Road, Locality is smaller than Rustic, yet the arrangement of intimate booths, tall tables and stools surrounding the bar and focal point makes for a cozy and welcoming environment. The rustic dark wood look has been replaced by more modern grey-tones, sleek lines and distinctive light fixtures.
I've actually been to Locality twice now — once for happy hour and once for dinner. I've yet to be disappointed by the food, drink or service.
The daily happy hour has some good deals with $5 wine by the glass, $4 craft beers, and a couple small plates in the same range.
The happy hour "quarter-pound slider," which seemed a bit smaller than that, is absolutely delicious, and a deal for $5.
On another night with girlfriends, we enjoyed the Longview Creamy Gnudi ($13) to share. It's a dish I still dream about.
Gnudi is much like gnocchi dumplings but made with ricotta cheese instead of potato. The version here is pillowy soft, set atop a "parmesan fondue" with fried sage, roasted beet pieces, shaved walnut and a pear balsamic brown butter glaze. The portion size is rather small to share, but it's outstanding.
Having wetted my appetite with happy hours, my husband and I finally got the chance to enjoy an extensive dinner one night.
We feasted our way through sourdough bread with whipped beer butter ($4), a cup of creamy hazel dell mushroom soup ($4), beet and tangerine salad ($10), house-made carbonara pasta ($18), roasted alamosa striped sea bass ($25) and an incredible pear tart ($7) for dessert.
To start, the bread was appropriately warm with a crusty exterior and soft, slightly sour middle. It ended up being a great vehicle to sop up the remnants of soup and sauces throughout the meal.
As for the soup, fresh hazel dell mushrooms with cream and perfect seasonings made for a cup of wonderfulness.
While the soup was bursting with flavor, the beet and tangerine salad with pistachios and goat cheese was much milder. I thought it could have used a bit more of the sour beer vinaigrette to enhance and balance the flavor of the strong greens.
My alamosa bass was perfectly delicate and buttery. It sat on a mound of olive oil whipped potatoes and garlic green beans, which sat on a layer of prosciutto-flavored broth. The combination of flavors worked extremely well together.
Mike's carbonara pasta included homemade wide noodles, braised mountain states rosen lamb, parmesan cheese, black pepper cream sauce and a "63-degree egg." The edges were surrounded by sautéed rapini (aka, broccoli rabe).
While we both thought a tad more seasoning could have been used to bring out the incredible ingredients in this dish, we also found this to be richly decadent and a true representation of farm-to-table cooking.
Like the gnudi, I'll be dreaming about the pear tart for some time. With a buttery, sweet and crumbly crust, this tart was further enhanced with brandy caramel, almond cream, candied walnuts and vanilla ice cream. What a great way to end our meal.
My guess is Locality will become a local favorite for years to come.