Locale's style reflects the neighborhood's modern yet multi-cultural chic aspect, which has become a signature of present day Astoria. Locale's diverse menu can accommodate almost any taste, whether it's and early afternoon brunch or an intimate dinner.
I'd been to Locale before I even moved to the city, but this weekend was my first time back. The small restaurant is a few blocks off the subway line, tucked away in a residential part of Astoria. It has a great atmosphere that's a combination of restaurant and lounge, with a couches on an elevated area in the corner and floor-to-ceiling windows around the dining room. The restaurant was crowded, though I'd say it is a little pricey for the neighborhood, but the cuisine is definitely above average.
We ordered the fried zucchini as an appetizer. It wasn't even on the menu, but our server suggested it, and we were pleased with the choice. The strips were lightly breaded and crispy, and not too greasy. There was a saucer of marinara sauce for dipping, but it was too chunky and the zucchini strips too thin to make it easy to dip into and get good 'coverage'. >We also tried the crab cake, which was served with a dill sauce that I found to be a little overpowering, V liked it though. It wasn't that 'lumpy' but didn't seem to be loaded with much bread either.
I ordered the seafood pasta which was served with a whole assortment of seafood: scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari and crab. There was a good amount of everything but some of it, like the scallops, was grainy. The pasta itself wasn't anything special, and the sauce wasn't quite what I expected, as it was rather thin. I had ordered the dish with a white sauce which was flavorful but thin, and didn't really stick to anything.
Other times we've eaten at Locale the food was very good, and we tried tonight to keep the price down. I can imagine that at a restaurant like this you really get what you pay for, and there are some chef's specialties like the Mozzarella Olivata which is homemade cheese served hot with olives and tomatoes. It is distinctive and delicious. The restaurant has a great atmosphere, good crowd, good service and a unique take on the cuisine, I'll try it again sometime when my pocketbook can better take the hit.