August 3, 2021 by Marisa Olsen
Photos by Marisa Olsen
Locales is the latest restaurant to open in Hingham at 6 Crow Point Lane, and it is hopping. On a Friday at 4:50pm, a line had formed around the door with young families and couples waiting for the doors to open at 5pm sharp. With options for a take-out window, an outdoor dining picnic area, plus dining indoors, or bar seats, Locales offers some appealing choices.
The interior has a coastal Mexican vibe with crisp white walls, funky colorful murals, and Mexican-inspired artwork. Light wooden tables, topped with terracotta planters that are filled with utensil roll-ups, are juxtaposed with black spindle chairs. Benches are outfitted with a variety of textured throw pillows. Rattan light fixtures dangle from the ceiling, and succulent planters and oversized cacti decorate the space surrounding the vibrant yellow bar that holds anchor. It’s chill, hip, and inviting and almost makes you forget that you’re off of a main drag in the suburbs and not sitting ocean-side at a Mexican getaway with sand between your toes. And, it also makes you want tequila and tacos.
Owner Brian McLaughlin has three daughters, and you can tell he’s comfortable with kids dining out at his newest spot. Nearly the entire restaurant dining room was filled with families and babies at 5 pm on a Friday night, the parents eager to try the newest spot and sip a tequila or mezcal. A cacophony of noises from curious kids and excited patrons echoed in the walls.
The service was friendly and on point. Our table was served by Leah, a delightful server who informed us that she undertook a two week tequila and mezcal training. We started with a house margarita ($9) with a reposado for $1 upcharge. It was served in a rocks glass with a chipotle-flavored salted rim, which we loved as it added smokiness. We also tried the Paloma ($11) with a nice grapefruit soda base, which was bright and tart. We asked Leah for an introductory Mezcal to taste. She recommended the Bozal Ensamble for $9 from Oaxaca, which arrived in a ceramic round shot glass. It was smokey and intense, and immediately warmed us up. Leah suggested to sip the mezcal and then open your mouth and breathe in to experience the various flavor profiles the mezcal has to offer, and we were glad we took her advice.
For our meal, we started with a guacamole ($11) and house-made chips, which were quite kid friendly; the guacamole was very fresh with a touch of jalapenos and fresh pico de gallo. We thought an extra sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lime couldn’t have hurt. Regardless, the guacamole was a great vessel for dipping those delicious salty, thick chips that the kids (and adults) at our table quickly devoured. One of our favorite dishes was the house-made Chips y Salsa Trio ($7): pico de gallo, roasted tomato, and tomatillo. The salsas were delicious, especially the earthiness of the tomatillo and the fresh and piquant flavors of the pico. We particularly loved the roasted tomato salsa, which had an intoxicating smokiness that lingered on the tip of the tongue. We sang our praises of the salsas to Brian and he tried to tempt us with a habanero spicy salsa that we promised we’d try next time. We of course took our salsas home and they came bundled in a reusable, branded bag. We not-so-secretly hope they bottle up their salsas for retail.
Our table ordered a kids quesadilla ($6), which was quickly gobbled up, which wasn’t surprising as it was a gooey, and a perfectly charred entree. We also tried the “Crispy” taco with carnitas (2 for $16), featuring a fried corn tortilla that is wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, and filled with jack cheese, pinto beans, pico, guacamole, and served with a slice of lemon and a side of tomatillo sauce. This is a hefty taco, and we appreciated the various textures of the tortillas, and tender pork. The “Baja” fish taco (2 for $17) was also enjoyable. A double-wrapped soft corn tortilla was filled with a generous portion of gluten-free, beer-battered crispy, tender fish, thinly shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime crema, and served with a side of lime, tomatillo, and guacamole. We loved the preparation of the fish but could have used a bit more lime crema. One other note: the tacos are partially wrapped in white wrapping paper, which makes consuming easy and virtually mess-free.
The menu is on the smaller side, and very manageable, showcasing the specialties of homemade salsas and marinated meats. Brian was all over the space, interacting with guests, clearing tables, and adding a general sense of calm. We can’t wait to go back, sit at the bar, kids-free, sip and learn more about mezcal, enjoy some tacos, and imagine we’re on vacation. But in the meantime, we’ll appreciate Locales and the fun and energetic vibe we have in our coastal backyard.
Locales Tacos y Tequila
6 Crow Point Lane, Hingham, MA 02043
Current hours: Tuesday - Saturday
Lunch: 12pm-4pm (window service)
Dinner: 5pm - 10pm (dine-in only)