Coco, Easthampton MA: Finally a chef who knows how to cook Mediterranean food in the Pioneer Valley!
Dined for the 2nd time. This chef understands the use of limited, flavorful, and fresh ingredients prepared with skill. No cloying port reductions with Gorgonzola cream, wasabi mashed potatoes, or other overdetermined and generally passe dishes offered with the same limp veg side on all plates here. Menu is limited and focussed; wine list same and most bottles under $30. Just excellent, Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. Make reservations, as the place is deservedly busy.
Also my second visit last night. My first visit was their opening night and everything came off without a hitch. Same experience last night. The food is unpretentious - just simple ingredients, put together with a creative hand. There are only 4 or 5 entrees each night and the menu changes almost daily. Last night our group of four had: beet and orange salad w/greens, chevre and a wonderful vinaigrette, roasted Brussels sprouts w/aioli for dipping, penne pasta w/sausage ragu (my dish and it was awesome!), salmon on a bed of mashed potatoes w/greens, and lastly, meatballs (2 very large!) on a bed of polenta w/green beans on the side. Everyone reported excellence all around! We had 4 glasses of sparkling wine, 3 appetizers, and 4 entrees and the tab was $125. I think Coco is the best value in the Valley. High quality, simple ingredients, for a very reasonable price. The cooking style is similar to what I like about Michael Angelo at Gypsy Apple, Alice Waters and David Tanis - just simple food, expertly prepared.