Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cuchi Cuchi Coo

I have a new favorite restaurant.

When my friend Katie told me about it and said "I KNOW you will love it" I was dubious. There have been times before when I have been taken to a new restaurant being told "I know you will love this place" and had lukewarm experiences. Also I am a brat in that when someone tells me to absolutely love something, I usually won't. This time however I fell so deep in love with a place that even a few minor snafus in the evening don't color my overall rosy impression of the place.

Cuchi Cuchi, located in adorable Kendall Square, is a small plates restaurant but don't call it tapas (they like to globe trot, so they say). When you walk in you feel like you are in someone's wildly decorated house from the 1920s (a decor theme I am familiar with and a fan of).

The dining room (borrowed from the Cuchi Cuchi website)

(Part of the lounge area, also borrowed from the website)

Adam and I were a little early to meet our friends Katie and her fiancee Pete so we easily grabbed seats in the large bar area and pored over the expansive cocktail list. I noticed the waitresses were all dressed like fabulous 1920s flappers with glittering swinging dresses and feather bedecked hair, I knew I was among friends!

I settled on the adorably named BeBopADivaImYourBaby (a super refreshing blend of lemon and lychee spirits) while Adam enjoyed an ever so slightly masculine Black Label on the rocks. The bar area soon grew pretty crowded but we were still able to hear each other and enjoy our drinks. Soon Katie and Pete joined us and ordered drinks of their own and we waited for our table. What was supposed to be a 25 minute wait ended up being an hour and fifteen minute wait and have you met me? I usually am not a patient waiter. But the drinks were so amazing (for a second round I had the spicy Dancing with Ginger), the bartenders were nice and attentive, and we were having so much fun catching up with our peeps that we really didn't mind.

Finally the hostess clad in a mother of pearl beaded flapper style dress with an enormous feather sticking from her perfect updo (LOVE) led us to our table in the back. When we arrived however, it appeared some couple, thus dubbed the Jerk Twins, had taken it upon themselves to skip the wait and seat themselves at our table, and when asked to leave refused to do so. The hostess, a total sweetheart, was visibly shocked. She conferred with some of the waitresses and aprised of us the situation. We may have to continue to wait. Of course I said I understood BUT to reward those people for being jerks and cutting the line when we had been waiting for over an hour was kind of unfair. Our waitress, a saucy fabulous girl in a silver dress with a tendinitis brace just like mine (gentle high fives! I said), agreed and just then, as luck would have it, another smaller table opened up so the Jerk Twins were moved there and we had our table at last, not before we walked by their table, staring them dead in the face and passively aggressively talking loudly about "WHO DOES THAT!?". This made all of us feel better.

Then the meal. After ordering a few bottles of wine we settled in to get into this small plates swing of things. Katie and Pete had dined there many times before so we let them take the lead. For the first round we ordered Fried Artichoke Hearts, Scallop Ceviche Shooters, Shrimp Wontons, and the Cuban Cigar. I LOVE a small plates restaurant because I think the social aspect of it is the way a dining experience should be. Who wants to be stuck with one meal all night. It's much more fun to get a little of everything and sample what everyone else has and enjoy it all.

Everything was divine, particularly the Cuban Cigar (beef short ribs wrapped in dough served with a just spicy enough black bean salsa) and the Ceviche Shooters (served in tomato, onion, jalapeƱo, lime, mango & banana salsa). I wish I wasn't scared of making those at home because they are SO good. What a great summer snack.

For our next round we went with Duck a l'Orange Crepes (with citrus & fennel vinaigrette), Grilled Indian Lamb (with beet salad & grilled fennel, yogurt & mint dip), Mexican Deep Fried Tomato, St Jacob's Zucchini (Deep-fried zucchini, cured Serrano ham & Manchego cheese), Bracioletta Ripiena (Grilled pork rolls stuffed w/pecorino cheese, pancetta, sauteed garlic) and the Brie en Croute (walnuts, bacon in puff pastry). Holy hell. Everything was perfectly cooked and the small portions were such that each of us got a few bites of each. So we threw back the wine and sampled and raved about the food, the lights on each table reflecting off the art deco mirrored walls, and just had the best time. Our waitress was totally attentive and fun, and by the time our meal ended (after the restaurant closed!) we were full, but not that overindulgent full that makes you feel you should be rolled home.

So if you live in the Boston Area I highly recommend cruising into Kendall and making a night of it at Cuchi Cuchi. There is free street parking if you come after 6PM and in the off chance you can't find any, the restaurant offers valet service. I would say it's priced moderately. The plates run from $9-$15 each and you are meant to order a few per person to enjoy. Between the wine and the food it didn't cost us much more than any night out at a nice restaurant with friends (about $60 a person including tip) and the actual dining experience was so much for fun! Two martini glasses raised for Cuchi Cuchi!

Plus, It's just fun to say.


Holly said...

Sounds like a good night - but I'm amazed at the behavior of the jerk twins! I'm also surprised the hostess didn't tell them they wouldn't be served. That's insane!

Sarah said...

Well she didn't really get a chance too because the other table vacated while we were deciding what to do, luckily! But I kind of wish they had been kicked out!

Jenn said...

It is exciting to see a review of this. I have been by it before and wondered about it; it's a little insane looking from the outside - which could be good or bad! Sounds like something I definitely need to check out.

Anonymous said...

I live in Boston, and I will def. give it a try! It sounds a bit like Eastern Standard? (the whole 20's theme) they have great food too, we always go there after Sox games. I alsi noticed you have been to Woodstock VT...LOVE IT. We go there every few months and stay at the Woodstock Inn and Resort (I highly recc. it) Its our getaway place :)

Alisa said...

Lets hope the Jerk Twins ordered the ceviche but theirs wasn't done properly and they barely lived to regret it all night long.

Sarah said...

Anon, I haven't been to Eastern Standard but if this place reminds you of it I will definitely check it out soon! And I also love Woodstock: great scenery, great shopping and GREAT beer (@ longtrail!)

hope505 said...

...dang, should get some freelance work on the side as a restaurant critic! What a great article on a fine-sounding spot! I felt like I was there too!

Nicky said...

They should've thrown those Jerk Twins out on their hind-ends! Rudeness is unreal!

On a happier note, that place sounds FAB. I wanna go! (o:

Jenny said...

So many of my friends have recommended Cuchi Cuchi but I have yet to go! I contacted them about doing our Rehearsal Dinner there, but they don't do parties that size.

You should check out Vlora though (in Copley Square) - it's where we are doing it instead. SO good (Mediterranean food)!