Thanks to a $50 loan from his grandfather, Chef James Messinger was able to promote his small catering business in the local classifieds, kicking off the career he dreamt about as a student at the Culinary Institute of America. The unlikely success from this small ad helped The Crazy Chefs Caterers to flourish and allowed Messinger to finance a long-desired wine-tasting odyssey through Spain, where the local cuisine quickly captivated both his tongue and imagination. Upon arrival back home, he established Loco Tapas & Wine Bar with his wife, brandishing fresh, quality ingredients from local farms to construct traditional tapas influenced by Spain's Catalonia, Basque, and La Rioja regions. The highly praised seasonal menus flaunt a rotating arsenal of small plates and elegant entrees, including a saffron-rice paella with chicken, chorizo, and mussels that the Boston Globe declared as one of "40 fantastic dishes" in the Boston area.
Hovering above Loco Tapas & Wine Bar's fully stocked bar, a chalkboard announces a handwritten roster of Spanish wines by the glass. Elsewhere in the dining area, dangling chandeliers and flickering candles set the stage for shadow-puppet tours de force upon rich crimson walls. Striking black accents, tablecloths, and furniture punctuate the sleek color scheme.
Chefs at Chaloos Restaurant lace dishes with the traditional flavors of Old Persia and the modern zest of the Mediterranean. Chefs stoke a charcoal fire to sear USDA-choice beef chicken, lamb, and cornish hen, which then fill kebab plates and pita wraps. They also crisp balls of falafel and toss five vegetable-packed salads. A wood-fired oven grills pizzas to a golden crisp in honor of the world’s first pizza, which Alexander the Great carved out of actual gold.
Drawing on the zesty flavors of Portugal and Spain, cooks at Sangria's Tapas and Wine Restaurant craft an eclectic selection of shareable small plates. Here, tapas range from peppadews filled with goat cheese and shrimp steamed in Old Bay seasoning to gluten-free helpings of pork belly piled atop grilled oranges. Entrees include dishes such as classic paella and braised rabbit simmering in white wine and bacon sauce.
To complement feasts, bartenders pour red and white wines from the U.S. and abroad, as well as mix plenty of classic cocktails and martinis. Then, of course, there are 10 blends of Sangria?s namesake made in-house every day, including the Portuguese Passion, a medley of riesling, champagne, and passionfruit vodka. Served amid intimate lighting and exposed brick, meals unfold as live musicians perform and flat-screen TVs broadcast the latest stateside sports and parliamentary rugby matches.
Since 1939, McMenamy’s Seafood has plumbed the depths of the ocean to assemble its full restaurant menu and stock its carryout fish market with the day’s freshest catches. The comfy, family-owned eatery sports nautical accoutrements along its walls, including a taxidermied fish, an ocean mural, and an imposing pirate flag hung up to signal that gold doubloons are buried deep within your basket of shrimp. A drive-thru window caters to pescetarians on the go, whereas TVs broadcast sports indoors as patrons dig into baked, broiled, or fried seafood.
There’s nothing old-fashioned about Asia Grill & Sushi’s dining room, with its curved bar area bathed in neon light and its ceiling speckled with orbicular chandeliers. Flat-screen TVs dominate patches of wall, allowing diners to catch up on the latest news or watch local sports. Fittingly, the restaurant’s specialty rolls are also quite modern and sports-themed. One of many team-named options on the roster, the Patriots roll is filled with lobster, cucumber, and avocado before being covered with two types of tuna, tobiko, sweet sauce, and spicy mayo. Meals also emerge from steamy woks, including sirloin steak that’s glazed with a flaming black-pepper wine sauce. Other entrees include crispy tender peking duck and lobster cooked with black-bean or tamarind sauce.
The cooks at Piccadilly Pub Restaurant bake, fry, grill, and assemble a medley of sandwiches, seafood platters, and other comfort cuisine. Haddock fillets take a dip in a light beer batter before trans-fat-free oil cooks them to a golden crisp, and fries and coleslaw cuddle up beside them in a dish of fish 'n' chips ($11.69). A dozen seafood platters harvest additional ocean occupants, including lobster, salmon, shrimp, and mermaid-grown sea vegetables. Baked bowls of shepherd's pie ($9.59) and chicken pot pie ($8.99) release a flood of steam after knives and forks cut into the blistering combination of seasoned meat and vegetables. A different house-made soup holds court daily ($3.50–$4.50), and the soothing staples of Piccadilly clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl ($7.99) and lobster bisque ($4.59–$7.99), taking their middle-school yearbook inscriptions to heart, never change.
Inside Morrell's Country Tavern, plates arrive at tables piled high with fish 'n' chips and grilled sirloin tips marinated in bourbon sauce. After perusing the menu, diners can savor the seasoned bread crumbs on their baked scrod or dip a spoon into a brimming bowl of new england clam chowder.