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Feb 21, 2011 12:43 PM

Recent eats: Tico, Foundry on Elm, ASSBar

With Tico a hop-step away from my office, I took advantage and joined my DC for a spread of tapas and a taco. We pretty much enjoyed everything here, especially the El Conquistador Anejo margarita on the rocks (no salt), the excellent shrimp toast (stellar combo of heat and piquant, smoothed out by creamy avocado) and the chorizo risotto, which delivered the ideal creamy texture found in slow-cooked Italian versions combined with some decent heat from pasilla chiles. We also found the quesadilla to be a delight, but in the sense of a wonderfully truffled grilled cheese - can't go wrong with truffles. We were less thrilled with the "creamed" corn, which was not creamy. The bacon was a bit underdone as well. The two-texture beef tacos were as promised, crispy and tender, and tasty too, but you'll pay twice as much here than elsewhere (e.g., Cantina La Mexicana, Taco Loco, countless others) for a dish that's not nearly twice as good.

We really savored the Foundry on Elm experience. Even though we went during prime time on a Friday night, somehow we thought we'd be in for a 'quiet' evening. Happily, that was incorrect as the place was jumping with all sorts of interesting social activity. The Foundry vibe is quite warm, which given the weather, was most welcome. I enjoyed Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale (suitably dry and hoppy) while the DC sipped chardonnay (declaring it "effervescent.") We felt like a 1/2 dozen oysters, which were clean-tasting, briny and tender. The Bacalaitos app was the real pre-meal star, three perfectly fried cod fritters atop a lip-smacking chipotle aioli and pleasant tomatillo relish. Mmmm, I'd come back for this. My choice of flatbread with Tallegio cheese (soft, a bit stinky, mellow on the taste buds), mushrooms and garlic would have been perfect with a little more of the aforementioned toppings. The DC demolished the steak frites, declaring the garlic shallot butter topping "divine."

Last week, I popped by ASSbar around 8:00 after a late meeting with the idea of grabbing a meatloaf sandwich. Instead, I veered to the special grilled lamb meatball on a baguette topped with whipped feta and a Mediterranean sauce. The counter person happily informed me that I had ordered the last of the batch. Damn, that was one hefty, lip smacking sandwich. I didn't even care that sauce was drooling down my chin with each bite. I detected cumin, clove, and garlic. The ground lamb was neither gamy or fatty. There's no denying it, that was a memorable sandwich. After this, I'm putting ASSBar back into my top 3 sandwich rotation.

Taco Loco
301 Lancaster St, Leominster, MA 01453

Foundry on Elm
255 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. Amen, brother - I had one of their specials today. I have some serious food coma going on so the name of it escapes me - maybe "extra kooky" or something like that. It was roast pork with deep fried poblanos, chipotle russian dressing, avocado, and pico de gallo. oh, and cheese... forgot what kind. All in all, I echo your take on the lamb special - "that was one hefty, lip-smacking sandwich!"

    I got the Beef on Weck for the hubs... despite being well- (over-) satiated, I have a feeling I'll be able to squeeze in a bite. For testing purposes of course :) Loved the setting and the service - very friendly and helpful guy at the counter; one of the other guys topped off my lemonade for free, and the free Oreos at the counter were a wonderful little treat on top of it all. I will definitely be back, and soon.

    All Star Sandwich Bar
    1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139