April 28, 2013

Dine Out Maine: New restaurant makes splash with interesting spices, dishes

By NANCY HEISER

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Bueno Loco has taken over the space in a Route 1 strip mall in Falmouth that was once home to O'Naturals. It now has a prominent bar and features colors of lime, orange and yellow.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

DINING REVIEW

BUENO LOCO

240 Route 1, Falmouth

619-7057; buenoloco.net

•••1/2

HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday

CREDIT CARDS: All major

PRICE RANGE: Appetizers, $7 to $14; Mexican classics and entrees, $11 to $24

VEGETARIAN: Vegetarians, vegans and the gluten-averse will find much to like. It's all labeled on the colorful menu.

GLUTEN-FREE: Yes, plenty of choices

KIDS: Yes, separate menu

RESERVATIONS: For five or more only

BAR: Nice cocktail list with drinks that use infused tequilas made in-house. Five beer taps include Mexican and local choices. Small wine list includes Chilean, Argentinian and Spanish.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

BOTTOM LINE: Bueno Loco serves fresh, high-quality Mexican fare with an emphasis on food with Mayan and/or Yucatan influences in a chic, casual atmosphere. Many dishes are intriguingly spiced and have a slightly sweet touch. The ambitious kitchen offers 10 different homemade salsas. Drinks and desserts are winners too. Vegan-friendly.

Ratings follow this scale and take into consideration food, atmosphere, service and value:

• Poor 

•• Fair 

••• Good

•••• Excellent

••••• Extraordinary

The Maine Sunday Telegram visits an establishment twice if the first dining experience was unsatisfactory. The reviewer dines anonymously.

House-made desserts were creative, multifaceted plates with mixed textures and creative complementary flavors.

Excellent light and crispy churros came with a scoop of sweet potato ice cream, spiced similarly to a pumpkin pie, and a chocolate dipping sauce. A delicate flan came topped with chunky, house-made papaya chutney and a crunchy almond shortbread cookie that melted away with each bite -- superb accents to a respectable centerpiece. (Both desserts cost $7.)

The distinct textures, colors and flavors of the food are turning heads at this restaurant, which has been open since early February. We experienced service that was friendly but had a few missteps.

This included not only the mistaken ceviche, but also a hiccup at the finale. The restaurant's lovely, rich Mayan coffee -- its Wicked Joe's brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice -- was tepid. (It was made at 5 p.m. said our server, unprompted; it was now 7:30. Maybe there's a way to correct this?) In short, the front of the house did not flow with ease on the night we visited.

When these minor kinks iron out, this spot may merit another half star. Even now, it is drawing plenty of customers to its "crazy good" dishes.

Nancy Heiser is a freelance writer and editor. She can be reached at:

nancyheiser.com

 

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