Enjoyable dinner @ Cuchi Cuchi
While I know others have had only so-so dinners at this Main St./Cambridge restaurant, friends and I had a perfectly lovely meal there last night.
Two of us started at the bar with a couple of glasses of white wine. They have a full bar, and serve lots of interesting cocktails, one of which the third member in our party got when he arrived....a Blackberry Cosmo. I tried it, and it was excellent! I'd have this over a regular Cosmopolitan any day. Fresh blackberries, muddled together with a wooden mallet, mixed with the alcohol, and strained and served. Very, very good.
We headed to our table, and after checking the menu out, decided on several items:
Grilled Lobster Tail with Vanilla Bean Beurre Blanc and Boursin Whipped Mashed Potatoes (not enough beurre blanc but still wonderful - sweet, tender and perfectly cooked lobster)
the special pasta dish -- a tortellini with shrimp and ricotta filling, and a great sauce, which I unfortunately can't remember (blame it on the 2nd glass of wine after virtually no lunch to speak of)
Sizzling Garlic Shrimp (similar what you get at Dali, only more of it, and no chili pepper)
Scallops Provencale - four good-sized seared scallops in a very light lemony-garlic-wine "bath" and served in a large "seashell". I believe there was some sort of rice on the side.
Grilled Indian lamb, with marinated tomato, yogurt & mint sauce, and garlic-toasted lavash bread. The lamb slices were very tender, cooked to order (medium), nicely spiced but not overly so, and complimented by the marinated tomato and yogurt-mint sauce
St. Jacob's Zucchini - lightly cornmeal-battered and deep-fried zucchini triangles, with cured Serrano ham and Manchego cheese within the breading. Crisp breading, not overly fried, nicely sandwiched by the Serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
The only thing I was personally disappointed with was two of the desserts. Our choices were the chocolate truffles (made by a relative of one of the owners, I believe). These were rich and dense, wonderfully chocolatey with just a hint of the orange, champagne or cherry flavorings used in the various truffles.
We also got a layered dessert of key lime custard, strawberry cheesecake and tulip cake. The lime custard had just the right tartness, but the strawberry cheesecake was more of a moussy filling and without much flavoring (overpowered by the key lime?), and the cake was nondescript. The other dessert was a chocolate mousse, peanut butter, almond brittle, and meringue shell combination. The chocolate mousse was great, but the rest just didn't work for me, personally. The person who got this is a pastry chef, and he enjoyed it very much.
The surroundings are lush, with gorgeous stained glass back-lit windows in the bar and beautiful large wall sconces that are framed by molding in the front half of the restaurant. The bar area can get loud, but the back part of the restaurant is very comfortable, noise-wise. Barstaff and waitstaff were very attentive, but not obtrusively so.
All in all, a very pleasant midweek evening dinner.
I've gotta say that I was somewhat comforted to see the negative review from a week or so back. I visited Cuchi Cuchi once and vowed the same - to only go back for drinks at the fun bar - because the food was so uneventful. And here we are again...does anyone know the story with the kitchen? Or perhaps this will be another Summer Shack....
(For the record, when I feel like throwing down tapas-style with friends, I tend to go for Atasca. The Portuguese small plates are similar to Dali, and still in the same area, but tend to be a better value. And the grilled sardines are great!)