CUCHI CUCHI : Small Plates, Loud Noises, Delicious Fun 8/29/08
- opinionatedchef Aug 30, 2008 08:09 AM
Before we left for dinner here last night, I did a CH search but found no dedicated recent threads about this place. I could swear I did a long report on it in the last 6 months, but I couldn’t find it. So, here are details:
What I realized last night is that in my many years of restaurant dining, Cuchi Cuchi is unique in that it exudes one consistent vibe of raucous delight. The theme is “We’re having a party!! Come on in and join the fun!!” From the quiet, lifeless, rather ugly street, you open the door , and BOOOOM!!!! You are hit simultaneously by: the NOISE, the warmly lit kooky Victorian décor, and the beautiful smiling faces of the friendly GMs in their over-the-top flouncy, seductive evening wear, dripping with rhinestones, boas, lace.
Cuchi Cuchi is run by girls, and these girls are all playing dress- up and having a blast. Sure, they work hard; it’s crowded and there’s a lot of running with the small plates format, but they are proud of what they serve and they are enjoying themselves. And they authentically want you to enjoy yourselves as well. Most of the diners are in groups of four and up. By the whoopin’ and hollerin’ that dominate the aural experience,I intuit lots of ‘special occasions’. Whatever the profile, I would say most people are having a very good time.
Last night ,Friday, 8:30 PM, we were seated in the lace-covered-mirror lined back room At first I thought it was quieter because of being away from the bar. Wroooong. The noise just bounces off those mirrors . So,since it was just the 2 of us and it’s very hard to be heard above the din, we concentrated on the food rather than the conversation. While we perused the many offerings, we delighted in the amuse- bouche of piquant eggplant caponata with crispy seeded flat bread.
Well, Yummmmm was the operative word . We ordered:
Tuna tartare and avocado cream in savory sesame cones- unctuous, filling, addictive
Blini filled with mushrooms and gruyere and topped w sour cream and salmon caviar
Fried artichoke hearts stuffed w gorgonzola and pistachios in lemon wine beurre blanc
Fried zucchini sandwiches filled with prosciutto and melted cheese
Mushroom Rissotto- watery, undersalted, a bit lifeless
Cuban Cigar- savory beef empanada in beautiful flaky pastry shaped like a large egg roll
Indian Lamb w/ raita-bland unmarinated lamb perfectly cooked but lacking in flavor.
Blackberry Lime Citrus Vodka Cosmos –honestly the best cosmo I’ve had. Bright fruity flavors, perfectly balanced, not too sweet.
Except for the lamb and risotto dishes, I was really pleased with the creativity , food quality,and excellent execution of all that we consumed. It was a lot of food. We could easily have skipped one or two of the items and not been so over-full. Most of the plates are $9-$15 so the bill certainly does add up. However, at the end of the evening , all I could think of was what Oliver said. : “Pleeeze suh, may I have some……...moah?”
I like Cuchi Cuchi, but I do find it expensive for what you get. It's a good place for a drink and to share small plates w/ friends.
>but I do find it expensive for what you get
I agree times 100. I was surprised at how expensive it was. I went with a group a few weeks ago and about half the dishes were not very good/not memorable, and half were very good but not outstanding. The drinks, however, were outstanding.
But we spent way too much for it.