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Coco's in Easthampton MA

j
jzzy55 Aug 12, 2011 09:56 PM

The former owners of the restaurant that was below Cha Cha Cha (or maybe Cha Cha Cha itself?), Unmi Abkin and her husband, have come back to the Valley from the Bay Area, and are opening a restaurant soon where Venus was in Easthampton. Anyone have any additional info about it? That's all I know. A friend who liked their catering in Berkeley clued me in, and there was something about it in the Gazette a while ago but I haven't seen any updates.

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  1. m
    magiesmom Aug 13, 2011 05:32 AM

    that is very exciting! thank you. I missed that in the GAzette.

    1 Reply
    1. re: magiesmom
      j
      jzzy55 Aug 13, 2011 07:30 AM

      Goggling Unmi doesn't produce any info on Coco's except that there is a Coco's in East Hampton, NY...not helpful.

    2. r
      rctaylor Aug 14, 2011 06:59 AM

      Here is the facebook page for Coco...

      1. r
        rctaylor Aug 14, 2011 07:00 AM

        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coco-a-...

        1 Reply
        1. re: rctaylor
          j
          jzzy55 Aug 14, 2011 10:18 AM

          thanks RCT

        2. c
          cabbagehead Aug 14, 2011 01:58 PM

          Look for a September opening.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cabbagehead
            j
            jzzy55 Aug 14, 2011 02:45 PM

            how do you know?

          2. c
            caughtstars Aug 15, 2011 10:52 AM

            I've heard it will be Mediterranean, but their Facebook page doesn't confirm.
            Regardless, I know it will be a great addition to the Valley food scene!

            6 Replies
            1. re: caughtstars
              j
              jzzy55 Aug 15, 2011 02:01 PM

              we enjoyed Cha Cha Cha but never ate at the downstairs place -- it looked pretentious and overpriced and the menu did not appeal..."Mediterranean"...that's a broad term...have to wait and see!

              1. re: jzzy55
                f
                fatheryod Aug 21, 2011 07:43 PM

                i ate at cha cha cha almost daily the first few months they were open because so many of my pals worked there. and i liked that stuff a lot, but the "downstairs" restaurant was pretty amazing. not cheap, but i had a couple meals there that were as good as anything i've had anywhere. really looking forward to this new venture.

                FY

              2. re: caughtstars
                c
                corinnerose Sep 22, 2011 10:08 AM

                I heard it was "new American" and that they would have, among other things, fried chicken. The Facebook page shows arugula salad, beignets, fried green tomatoes, and ricotta gnocchi.

                1. re: corinnerose
                  m
                  magiesmom Sep 22, 2011 02:45 PM

                  we could sure use some really good fried chicken!

                  1. re: magiesmom
                    m
                    mjoyous Sep 25, 2011 09:09 AM

                    I would travel to Amherst for great fried chicken! Someone please post after they get to try some.

                    1. re: mjoyous
                      c
                      corinnerose Sep 29, 2011 06:08 AM

                      one hitch--it's actually in Easthampton, not Amherst. I think they're opening this weekend, but still don't see a menu online.

              3. JunieB Sep 25, 2011 03:17 PM

                There's finally an opening date of September 30!

                1. t
                  tbbbnbab Oct 9, 2011 09:23 AM

                  We went last week and had a great dinner. The place was full of happy diners when we arrived at 6:45, as was mostly full when we left an hour later. The menu is limited to 5-6 appetizers and 5-6 entrees (all of them would have made me happy). The portion sizes are moderate...enough to fill you up, not so much that you would need a doggie bag...and the prices are very reasonable given the quality of the meal...$16-20. The interior is very attractive...not as swanky as Venus (which used to occupy that space), but comfortable and approachable. Bottom line...we liked it and we will go back!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tbbbnbab
                    JunieB Oct 9, 2011 02:02 PM

                    My husband and I, along with two very good friends, ate there the night they opened. I was very impressed with how smoothly everything went for it to be an opening night. There were no hitches at all. The food was very good and the service was good. I had aranchini w/marinara sauce to start which was very good, and then I had the roasted (or maybe pan-seared) chicken with Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potato and herb pistou. The chicken was delicious; moist and very flavorful. Everything else on the plate was perfectly cooked. My husband started with the arugula and pear salad with saba and he said it was one of the best salads he has ever had. He had the roasted pork and he thought it was very good. It was served with a pureed or mashed white root vegetable which he couldn't really identify but he said it was very good also. I ordered the beignets for dessert but they weren't really my kind of beignet. They were filled with chocolate and came with a chocolate dipping sauce. I prefer plain beignets and I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, but I had no trouble finding takers to finish it off. The prices were very reasonable. I'm looking forward to seeing how the menu evolves. I guess if I have any complaint at all it would be that the music was a bit too loud and I would have preferred my sparkling wine to be served in a champagne flute instead of a wine glass. Since we live in Easthampton, we are very pleased to have Unmi nearby doing her thing!

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    1. re: JunieB
                      f
                      fatheryod Oct 15, 2011 06:32 AM

                      great place. we went there the other night and i am eager to get back. the menu is small and precise; the seasoning, prep and presentation are solid; the prices were very reasonable (roughly $40 for all three courses). my daughter wanted to hit it tonight, but i called yesterday and they were all booked up. good for them. bummer for us! well, we'll get there next week!

                      i also really like the way they redid the space. venus was dark and close. the new setting is light and open. we'll be very curious to see how this place's story unfolds. it's certainly off to a great start.

                      1. re: fatheryod
                        j
                        jzzy55 Oct 15, 2011 06:51 AM

                        the space sounds appealing. I like to see my food and read the menu! thanks for the info.

                  2. m
                    magiesmom Apr 8, 2012 06:49 AM

                    they are now "temporarily closed due to problems with liquor license". ??????????

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: magiesmom
                      j
                      jzzy55 Apr 8, 2012 12:28 PM

                      also read in Gazette the other day. booze = profit. I'm sure it will be worked out soon enough. I hope it doesn't cause them too big a financial hit in the meantime. Although it's not my dream restaurant I wish them well.

                      1. re: jzzy55
                        m
                        magiesmom Apr 8, 2012 01:40 PM

                        I no longer read the Gazette, so I miss all these things. Did it say what the problem is?

                        1. re: magiesmom
                          JunieB Apr 8, 2012 02:38 PM

                          Butting in here! The article said the lady who owned the restaurant when it was Venus had a liquor license for the building (which includes the Cellar Bar) but there was now some question as to whether the license extends to a new business in that same location. Sounded like the Coco crew just wanted to be safe rather than sorry so they closed until the state liquor board makes a decision. Worse comes to worse I guess people would have to buy their drinks downstairs and have them delivered upstairs. Pretty stupid really. I mean Coco can serve their food to the patrons of the Cellar Bar, so if they can share food it doesn't make sense that they couldn't share liquor.

                          1. re: JunieB
                            j
                            jzzy55 Apr 8, 2012 02:52 PM

                            That's what I understood the article to say as well, but I don't find the Gazette infallible shall we say.

                            1. re: JunieB
                              m
                              magiesmom Apr 8, 2012 04:04 PM

                              I hope they re-open soon; being closed is very expensive and hard on staff.

                              1. re: magiesmom
                                JunieB Apr 8, 2012 04:12 PM

                                On facebook they said they are still catering like crazy. They have a very small staff. Their manager is a friend that came with them from CA, but yeah I hope they reopen soon. They have become my go-to restaurant for home cooking on nights when I don't feel like cooking.

                                1. re: JunieB
                                  f
                                  fatheryod Apr 27, 2012 06:30 PM

                                  i went by today and they said it would be a couple of months until dinner started up again. unmi joked that she preferred the just-lunch hours so much she might just keep them a lunch spot. thankfully, that won't be the case, but the lunch selections for friday and saturday were awesome -- fried buttermilk chicken sandwich, pork and fish tacos. very drool inducing.

                                  1. re: fatheryod
                                    JunieB Apr 28, 2012 09:00 AM

                                    We went for lunch the other day but left and went to Silver Spoon instead. I wanted to try the pork tacos. The menu said taco(s) but I saw someone else's order and there was only one small taco and the price was $6. If you wanted to make a larger meal by adding a salad that was an additional $7. I thought it was kind of expensive for lunch. We went during peak lunch time and there were quite a few people there and the service seemed a little slow but I was glad to see the support. On fb they announced that they had sold 100 chicken sandwiches at the end of the 2-day lunch. Glad to hear they will be back to serving those delicious dinners soon. I don't find them overpriced at all.

                                    1. re: JunieB
                                      JunieB Apr 28, 2012 09:13 AM

                                      I just went to fb for the first time in a while and Coco had some new pics. There were TWO tacos in the photos so I have to assume that the person's order I saw had just asked for one. The fish and pork tacos looked great, as did the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. I've had the buttermilk fried chicken as a dinner entree and it's awesome.

                                      1. re: JunieB
                                        f
                                        fatheryod Jun 8, 2012 02:59 PM

                                        the taco portion when i had them was three. small, but tasty. they seem to have stopped serving them the last few weeks, however. but they have added a roasted pork sandwich that is amazing, and a miso noodle salad (with either chicken or tofu) that is quite mind-blowing as well. i pretty much hit it every friday before work, and the whole family was there last weekend since our daughter was graduating from williston. we pretty much ordered everything they had on the small, focused menu and it was all outstanding.

                              2. re: JunieB
                                JunieB Aug 10, 2012 01:57 PM

                                Yay!!! According to the Gazette, the liquor license glitch has been resolved and Coco will be back in business for dinner in the near future, drinks and all. The article said it would take a couple of months for the license to be finalized. Also said they ended up taking over the entire building which means they will also be running the Cellar Bar downstairs. I for one cannot wait for them to reopen for dinner!

                                1. re: JunieB
                                  f
                                  fatheryod Aug 14, 2012 05:17 PM

                                  yeah, i ran into roger and unmi at capt. jack's the other day. the sale of he cellar bar has just gone through and they seemed happy as all get out. from my understanding the upstairs restaurant will go back to its weds-sat schedule, and the downstairs bar will be serving small plates. presumably that will be open more nights, but it seemed that hadn't been settled yet. i certainly wish them all possible luck with this new venture and feel pretty certain they'll do killing business. all i can say is YUM!

                                  1. re: fatheryod
                                    f
                                    faith Aug 15, 2012 05:35 PM

                                    that is great news Fatheryod!

                                    1. re: faith
                                      f
                                      fatheryod Nov 15, 2012 07:35 PM

                                      went to coco's reopening tonight and it was mighty fine. the menu is similarly-sized to the old one, the servers largely to be the same as the ones from before, and the quality of the food was boss. twe were a party of four and, between us, we tried most of the stuff on the menu. new items included a saffron aracini (super fine), a beet and orange salad (those were apps). i had a fennel/sausage ragu for my main that was exceedingly good -- lighter than expected and reall a nice blend of flavors. the buttermilk chicken is still on the menu and most of the others went for that. they commented that the slaw this time was a little different, more peppery perhaps, and really good. deserts -- chocolate mousse, some crazy pudding thing i had that was halfway between custard and junket with poached quince on top (brilliant), etc. they also have a full liquor license now and are making an in-house tonic water that is very unusual and addicting. so the gin & tonic is a good pre-prandial (sp?) suggestion. word is that the downstairs bar will open next wednesday (they'll be doing a weds-sat schedule, for now) with small plates available down there. almost makes me wish i lived in easthampton, although i will forever miss those lunches they were doing. hopefully some of those items (pork tacos, roasted pork sandwich, miso noodle salad) will eventually make their way onto the bar menu. but it seemed like a rock sold restart to me. two of the other folks in our party had also attended their place's initial opening with my wife and i (she was unfortunately out of town for this one), and we all agreed that coco is right back in the upper echelon of valley eating choices. and they are not easy to please! i have been underwhelmed by many local meals recently, and i admit i am tilted towards loving this place (just as i loved the original cha cha cha and unmi), but it was a really good meal. as for price, we each did two drinks, app, main, dessert & coffee, and it ran about $55 per with tip. not cheap, but it's easy to do it for less if you like, and the atmosphere is quite cool. they seem to have dialed back the background music volume a bit, and we had no trouble hearing each other as we chattered away, trying to steal bites from each others' plates. happy to have these guys back!

                                      1. re: fatheryod
                                        f
                                        faith Nov 16, 2012 05:01 PM

                                        that's great news Father! thanks for the detailed review- and i'm sure the small plates at the bar will bear resemblance to the popup lunch plates. Why re-invent the wheel? and Congrats Unmi and gang.... wish they would post their menu on facebook or get their old website back and put it on there...

                                        1. re: faith
                                          JunieB Nov 16, 2012 06:34 PM

                                          They often change the menu up a little bit so I guess it's too time consuming to have it online, but it would be nice if they did. The entrees last night were pretty much the same as when they were open before. They still have that wonderful buttermilk fried chicken on a bed of mashed potatoes with delicious coleslaw. They had a penne pasta dish with fennel and sausage ragu, a filet mignon offering, salmon (which might have been the weakest thing on the menu last night), and a vegetarian curry dish. The apps though were a bit different than before and the desserts were quite different. I've never been disappointed with anything I've had there. Everyone in the Valley should try to make sure this place succeeds because I think it's the best restaurant south of the route 9 bridge.

                                          1. re: JunieB
                                            m
                                            magiesmom Nov 16, 2012 07:44 PM

                                            I am so happy to hear this news!

                        2. m
                          magiesmom Dec 9, 2012 08:28 AM

                          We finally got there last night and enjoyed ourselves. We had the fried brussels sprouts of which I could have eaten a million and the beet salad to start, buttermilk fried chicken and salmon, both delicious. FOr dessert we had a really wonderful panna cotta with quince compote and almonds, and a very indifferent ginger cake. Very good latte.
                          Service was good, non intrusive but attentive.
                          My only complaint, and it is minor, is that the seating is tight and not so comfortable.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: magiesmom
                            JunieB Dec 9, 2012 02:10 PM

                            So happy you finally made it. When they were open before, I thought the only weak thing on the menu was their desserts. They seem to have improved on those. I had that weird chocolate ginger cake and it was very good! I know a guy who goes there often and he never gets anything but the buttermilk fried chicken. I must say, it is melt in your mouth delicious! They vary the menu slightly every so often, but I've never gotten tired of any of their entrees. Those folks are real pros.

                            1. re: JunieB
                              m
                              magiesmom Dec 9, 2012 05:29 PM

                              I might prefer to go to MT Tom ice cream for dessert. Their salted almond chocolate is to die for.

                              1. re: magiesmom
                                JunieB Dec 9, 2012 05:55 PM

                                I concur!

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