You never want to see a restaurant go under but for whatever reason, Atlantica in Madison closed its doors a few months ago. Beyond that, I completely forgot about the location. I don’t regularly drive on 463 and my one meal at Atlantica was completely forgettable. Well, that’s changed. Carpe Jackson is back on the beat with her (or his?) Restaurant Openings Report and the new tenant Local 463 Urban Kitchen was on the top of the list. Apparently Local 463 is Derek Emerson’s, of Walker’s notoriety, new restaurant. While I’ve never gushed about Walker’s, it is a pretty solid meal, so I figured Local 463 would be worth a look.
Arriving early to beat the lunch crowd, I was apparently a little too early. Tables were still being set, the beer was being delivered, and the hostess was nowhere to be seen. The few minutes wait gave me a chance to soak up the atmosphere. I’m not really sure where the Urban in the name Urban Kitchen comes into play, but I suppose the liberal use of grey in the paint scheme conveys the message. Décor aside, while I was being shown to my table, I noticed a few familiar faces. I’d heard rumblings through Jackson that a lot of the staff from Nick’s, Bravo and other places were recruited for Local 463 and it appears the rumors were true.
I’d had a chance to look over the menu before I came, but I still hadn’t made up my mind. Indecision always makes for an interesting situation. This time it resulted in the first of the three appetizers.
A little greasy, there was no real corn meal or corn taste to the batter, it was just shrimp on a skewer. Well, there might have been some taste of corn meal or shrimp if the ketchup hadn’t dominated everything. I wouldn’t have thought to mix mustard, mango, and ketchup but it needs to be paired with something less subtle than shrimp.
I was expecting a subtle amount of truffle oil, instead this spring was truffle oil with a side of poorly fried potatoes and the cheese was nowhere to be found. This is an instance of too much of a good thing, way too much.
The last of the three appetizers was an order of Braised Duroc Pork Belly.
When it came time to pick an entrée, I was at even more of a loss. The Super Kobe Burger and the Burger 463 both looked like sterling choices, but I was in a burger daze. I instead decided to satiate my beef riddled tendencies with the Dr. Pepper Braised Short Ribs.
Served with a stroganoff potato pave and crispy spinach, I was racking my brain to think of the last time I had seen beef paired with something sweet like Dr. Pepper.
Well, the ribs had certainly been braised as you could almost blow on them and they would fall apart. Annoyingly the exterior was dry, but the interior was moist and full of that beefy goodness that short ribs are famous for. One thing that was missing was the flavor of Dr. Pepper or any sweetness at all. Actually the best part of the rib was the small section that had been dusted with salt. It provided just enough salinity to really bring out the beef.
Fortunately my dining companion had an itch for a sandwich and decided to satiate that itch with a Monte Cristo.
I’m not exactly sure when Local 463 opened, but I imagine there are still a few kinks being worked out. A lot of the dishes needed a little something extra, but there’s a solid foundation here. There’s also a pretty brisk lunch business. I realize there’s still a new restaurant buzz to this place, but I was surprised at the crowds for a Thursday lunch. In the meantime, it looks like Chef Emerson has done well again, but only time will tell.