Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cuchi Cuchi

Dinner at Cuchi Cuchi restaurant was a big surprise.

A group of 7 of us went out to celebrate a double birthday and had an amazing time. There cocktail list was not only impressive, the drinks were really good and not cloyingly sweet. The Lime Ricky Ricardo was subtle and played up the sourness of the raspberries and lime, with just a hint of sweetness. The drink was the first of many served to us at the LED light table, which has sensors and responded to the hover of coasters and waving of hands--oddly but perfectly fit into the decor of reverse painted glass lampshades, bejeweled kitsch and vintage or vintage-inspired dresses that graced the front of the house employees and life-size mannequin that was perched in the corner of the room.

Much to my surprise, they also had a list of gluten free menu options. Set up as "small plates" dishes spanned the globe, and I was able to choose from over 12 options, plus homemade ice cream for dessert. We ordered and ordered a lot, and dishes came out of the kitchen at a steady pace. The pauses between dishes were well timed to sneak in more conversation before the next round arrived.

I am going to omit the dishes I did not eat, because I do not think its fair to comment on appearance and aroma alone (but I would say that the Mexican tomato and fried artichokes made me drool). I sampled the baby beet salad, seafood filled avocado, grilled eggplant napoleon, grilled Indian lamb, sizzling shrimp, and gratin Dauphinois. The true star was the baby back ribs (with apple fritters on the side). Upon close examination, accompanied by some oohhhs and ahhhs, diners came to the conclusion that the ribs tasted like they had been just dusted with some cocoa powder. Slightly sweet, savory and fall-off-the-bone-tender, these little bit-sized morsels were a real treat.

A trio of ice cream finished the meal: Cuchi nougat, Mexican chocolate and pistachio served with a garnish of kirsh cherries and caramelized sugar.

One item that we ordered was forgotten, but appropriately did not grace our bill. With that exception, service good. The repetitive clearing of plates was welcomed to make room for more to come. Cuchi Cuchi is very clear about the fact that they are not tappas, but all about small plates and their portions reflect this very well. 3 dishes per person were recommended. Our server politely tried to warn us that we requested too much, but it was a birthday and going a bit over the top was to be expected.

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