Like voluntary tasings and constructive criticism, some meals are best when delivered in small doses. Snack in stride with today's Groupon: for $35, you get $70 worth of upscale Spanish cuisine and tapas at Loco Tapas & Wine Bar in South Easton.
Chef and owner Jim Messinger unveils Loco Tapas' menu of artistic reincarnations of traditional tapas from southern Spain’s Catalonia, Basque, and La Rioja regions, earning a mention on Phantom Gourmet. Forks plunder small plates such as creamy Loco mac 'n' manchego ($9), a cheesy classic peppered with chorizo and topped by brown-butter breadcrumbs. Or break hunger’s will to live with grilled salmon swimming in chimichurri verde sauce ($9).
Colossal appetites are satisfied with larger portions, such as Loco's signature paella ($25), a hearty band of smoked chicken, chorizo, and mussels marching atop saffron rice, voted one of the Top 40 Knockout Dishes by the Globe Magazine. Desserts such as chantilly-cream-clad chocolate flan ($7) appear and quickly disappear on black-clothed tables lit aglow by candelabra chandeliers, fiery red walls, and flaxen curtains woven from the gossamer eyelashes of a winking star. Loco Tapas procures all of its meat from T.F. Kinnealy, and is open Wednesday–Saturday.
Loco Tapas & Wine Bar
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.