Charcuterie in the Basement: Local 16 Thinks Meat, New Menu
From Ashley Lusk. Check out Ashley’s blog Metropoetrylis and find her on Twitter at @arlusk.
The culinary team at Local 16 is a regular boys’ club — but in this case, that’s a good thing. The U Street favorite has undergone some changes, which include a new menu that continues to highlight regionally gathered flavors, and smoked and cured meats from their own collection.
Charcuterie Prepared, Aged at Local 16
Owner Aman Ayoubi briefly thought of putting in a speakeasy in the basement of his restaurant, but instead has dedicated the next phase of Local 16 to charcuterie that is prepared and aged on-site.
Ayoubi has teamed with Seth Cooper of White House Meats to bring humanely raised meat to the restaurant directly from Highview Farm and Mount Airy Farms.
As part of their new initiative, Cooper butchers the meat on-site and then begins the six- to 12-week curing process in a humidity and temperature-controlled cooler that will age the meat under proper conditions.
The new menu at Local 16 features hearty wood-fired pizzas as the signature entrée and is cultivated by Alex Vallcorba and Edan Macquaid doing what they do best (you may remember them as the dynamic duo from 2Amys). Vallacorba and Macquaid have even begun to incorporate some of the aged meats into select dishes.
“I know the meat we have here is [of a] better quality, and there is pride in butchering the meat ourselves,” says Cooper.
The future of having a butcher shop at the restaurant looks bright: Ayoubi and Cooper foresee demonstration classes and sales of the aged meats on-site, including pancetta, bresaola, smoked salmon and salted cod.
So what hasn’t changed about Local 16? The philosophy.
“Forever, the focus will be to have meaningful, great quality foods from the community. If we have a steak on the menu, it will be because it’s local and it’s here now,” says Ayoubi.
You can look for the next monthly pig roast at Local 16 on August 28.