Loco for Poco Loco | The hook
You may have noticed that a place called Poco Loco appeared in the old Cinema taco place at Jefferson Theater, complete with an outdoor tiki bar, the only one on the downtown mall. Poco, which means “small” in Spanish, is the descendant of Mono locomotive at Water Street, and made its debut on the food scene with a smooth opening at the end of June. Last week Dish stopped for lunch and devoured perfectly fried cod fillets over sweet and salty coconut rice topped with fresh pineapple and lettuce salsa – not a grain of rice n ‘ was left on his plate, and nothing in the portion was “poco.”
Michael lewis, chef / owner of Mono Loco (Poco’s daddy) has a long history on the Charlottesville restaurant scene. He learned to cook from a chef-power-duo Tim burgess and Vincent Durquenne (of kiss, Snap!, Space, and the now closed Metropolitan), when Métropolitain opens. His former bosses still have a lot of praise for him.
“Michael is artistic and creative,” says Burgess. “Also, as Anthony Bourdain said of a good cook, ‘he has movements’, which means he can really get by on the stove. That’s a big problem for me in the cooking world. catering. It’s one thing to be able to cook, quite another to do it under pressure when 100 people are in your restaurant. ”
Lewis also worked in Bizou’s kitchen in the 1990s, where he helped create the menu and adorned each stand with a small jukebox, and when Quran Capshaw bought Mono Loco from the restaurant owner Barbara shifflett in 2005, Lewis became part-owner and set to work to make the space “accessible and personal”. This same process is underway at Poco Loco: inside he has added art to the walls and painted it a vivid shade of sherbet green and intends to eventually create a bar with seating. ; outside, of course, there is the tiki bar.
An inspiration for Poco is a San Francisco joint called Nopa, which opened branches called Nopalita, based on staff meals prepared by Nopa employees. This is what happens at Poco Loco, where certain menu items are suggested by Mono Loco staff, many of whom are also now working at Poco Loco. Additionally, Lewis rewards customer loyalty with a few Mono Loco dishes and drinks named after longtime customers.
Poco Loco is open for lunch (11 am-3pm) and dinner (5 pm-10pm) Monday through Saturday, and only Sunday evenings with a limited menu if there is a show at the Jeffersonian. The drink menu includes lean, spicy, and fruity margaritas, beer, sangria, and mojitos. The menu features plenty of permutations of fish tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and an intriguing oven-baked rice pudding dish topped with crispy pork, fried eggs, tomatillo ranchero sauce, and queso fresco.
” What we do [at Poco Loco] is a great opportunity, ”says Lewis,“ to make the connection between music and food and to infuse a little of what Mono Loco has brought to the community: great food and fun.