When people mention “airport food,” thoughts often turn to grabbing a quick salad or a sandwich before boarding a flight, or perhaps sitting at a bar with a beer or two (or more) if a flight has been delayed. But few think of going to the airport for a date-night meal on a Saturday evening or a low-key lunch with family or friends.
There is a restaurant southwest of Boston, however, that puts to rest the airport restaurant stereotype. If you love Greek food, Taso's Euro Cafe in Norwood is a beloved spot that pretty much defines the term “hidden gem."
Like with so many other restaurants in locations off the beaten path, getting to Taso's is a rather interesting experience unto itself. Taking the Neponset Street exit off I- 95 drops you right into the heart of a quiet, pleasant residential neighborhood with little in the way of commercial development. You’ll soon notice a sign or two showing that an airport is straight ahead, and then an “Airport Next Right” sign followed by a sign for Norwood Memorial Airport pointing down Access Road.
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This street looks like all the other quiet residential roads in this part of Norwood, at least for a short time, but then you suddenly enter what looks like a small industrial park and voila! A rather tiny airport to the right appears with a parking lot that doesn’t look much bigger than one you might see at a golf course. The airport itself has a grand total of two runways, a couple of flight schools, and very fine views of the Blue Hills in the distance—and right in the middle of it all is Taso’s, with its backdrop of several hangars helping make for a rather odd stage for a restaurant, especially if you’ve never been here before.
You might not expect a restaurant at an airport to be an overly warm and inviting place, but Taso’s definitely has a comfy, laid-back vibe to it, with a small dining area to the right just beyond the entrance, and a main dining room to the left which is separated into an upper and lower area. The upper section has large windows where you might catch a plane taking off or landing.
The middle of the space includes dessert cases which diners can peruse if they still have room after their meal, or they can take some sweet treats home which may be the better option since the portions here tend to be quite large.
Greek fare is in some ways the ultimate comfort food, and Taso's certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front. The restaurant is family-owned, and the made from scratch dishes you’ll find here tend to taste a lot like what you might have in the home of a Greek family, or perhaps one of the handful of terrific Greek church festivals found in the Greater Boston area.
Some of the more traditional items offered at Taso’s include (depending on the day and the specials offered) a classic avgolemono, or egg-lemon soup that—just like with chicken noodle soup—may just make you feel better if you have a cold; a stuffed grape leaves plate that is an appetizer but can really be made into a meal, especially if you do a double order; and of course the type of Greek salad that only a Greek restaurant can make, with lots of feta and a wonderful dressing.
There's more -- a belly-busting pastitsio, which is sort of a Greek version of lasagna and comes with noodles, a slightly spicy ground meat, and creamy bechamel sauce on top; an equally-hearty moussaka, which is layered with eggplant, ground meat, and bechamel sauce; an outstanding version of spanakopita, or spinach pie, complete with flaky phyllo and feta cheese; a “famous” baked lamb that comes with tomato sauce; baked stuffed peppers with delicious roasted potatoes on the side; souvlaki, with options being grilled lamb or chicken on skewers; gyros that sandwich lovers can order with lamb, beef, or chicken; and one of the best versions of baklava you’ll find in the local area.
In addition to traditional Greek fare, Taso’s also offers some classic American dishes along with food items you might find in a sub shop. Interestingly enough, one of the most popular items here is their pizza, which is a lot like the Greek pizzas you find all over the Greater Boston area at any "house of pizza," but Taso's version is fantastic, not being nearly as greasy as those you might find at your local takeout joint.
You’ll also find good takes on wings, steak and cheese subs, spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken parm, and the grilled cheeseburgers here are particularly good (it's a not-so-hidden secret that Greek restaurants tend to serve terrific burgers). Whether you opt for Greek or non-Greek fare, Taso’s offers Greek beers and wines to go with your meal, including Retsina in the latter category, which has an essence of pine resin giving it a unique aroma and flavor.
Taso’s proves that top-quality full-service restaurants can indeed exist at airports, though the setup itself is different from what you might find at Logan or other major airports where most of the dining spots are within the terminals and geared exclusively for travelers. Still, this eatery deserves some bragging rights for being a place that you can drive to for a leisurely meal before driving back home, or go to for a meal before or after a flight. No matter how you get there (or where you go afterward), Taso’s is one of those offbeat restaurants that you probably won’t soon forget.
Taso's Euro Cafe,125 Access Road, Norwood, MA, 02062. http://www.tasoseurocafe1.com/