Loco Tapas and Wine Bar (CLOSED)
520 Foundry Street, South Easton, MA 02375
If someone tells you that you have to go into Boston to have a truly memorable experience at a classy, upscale restaurant, take it with a grain of salt. Indeed, while Boston proper has many top higher-end dining spots, there are plenty of similarly good places outside of the city, including an outstanding Spanish restaurant in the little town of South Easton called Loco Tapas and Wine Bar. Never heard of the place? Well, you're probably not the only one, but we believe that if this restaurant were plopped down on Tremont Street in the South End or Charles Street in Beacon Hill, it would be considered by some to be one of Boston's top restaurants.
Cozy, intimate, and exotic, Loco Tapas and Wine Bar has loads of atmosphere both on the lounge side and in the main dining area. The bar and lounge section, which sits to the left, includes a beautiful copper bar and comfy seats for those who would rather eat dinner and have drinks in a slightly more dynamic environment. But the dining room to the right is every bit as appealing, with vivid red walls, curtained windows, a chandelier, Spanish-type arches, and a hardwood floor. The room is rather dark, adding to the moody, romantic feel.
Tapas is perhaps the biggest draw at Loco, as it has an extensive list of small plates on the menu. There are a few options for cold plates, including smoky-tasting eggplant, white anchovies in Spanish oil, and a caesar salad with croutons that have a nice garlic taste to them. Options for hot dishes are more plentiful, with such items as smoked chicken and ham croquettes that come with a tangy lemon allioli, fried calamari that is not greasy at all and also comes with lemon allioli, earthy-tasting roast artichokes, creamy macaroni and manchego cheese with rich-tasting chorizo, fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and allioli, baked flat bread crisps with an extraordinary mix of chimmi churri sauce and mild cheese, and sauteed shrimp mixed with herbs and garlic.
If you are not in the mood for small plates, Loco Tapas also has a number of regular entrees, including a hearty, gooey baked cannelloni with ricotta cheese, spinach, and tomato sauce; a tremendous paella served in a traditional flat pan with smoked chicken, mussels, chorizo, peas, tomatoes, and saffron rice; and braised beef short ribs with truffled mashed potatoes. A number of different meats from the grill can also be ordered, and they come with a choice of rubs and sauces. Saving room for dessert is difficult at Loco Tapas, but if you are able to, the rich cocoa flan and the deliciously doughy churros with warm chocolate sauce are just two of several options. Drinks include everything from spiced apple cider to tea to beer to port wine to sherry to espresso.
We don't review too many higher-end restaurants on this site, as most of them seem to have been "discovered." But Loco Tapas remains a hidden gem (outside of Easton, that is). If you like Spanish cuisine and don't want to fight the crowds that some of the tapas bars closer to Boston often have, head down Route 24 south to Route 106 west to get to this truly special place.
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