Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
New Flavors at Cucina Urbana
I don't know how this happens, but I always seem to forget it's Restaurant Week (how often is this happening these days, anyway?) when I stumble into one of my haunts, which I always seem to do when it's Restaurant Week. Fortunately, when I hit up Cucina Urbana right at 5 p.m. (behind a line of 15 people waiting for the doors to be unlocked), I was all set to grab a seat at the bar, rather than expect a table at what is a perpetually fully-booked joint.
I was happy to have a reason to try out some new fare, namely the white corn and herb goat cheese pizza (ohmyjesuslordinheaven was it tasty, with that sweet corn and salty cheese and I'm just salivating with the memory) and a new dish to the menu, the trout. The trout itself was a gorgeous piece, fresh and lightly sweet, and the buttery potatoes served with it were a perfect compliment, but I found the rest of the mix (which contains some essence of anchovy, according to David) to be too fishy for me. Keep in mind I don't like salmon. David, who enjoys all seafood, licked the plate clean. I was happy to have more of the pizza for myself.
You're probably wondering what we had to start with. Restaurant week is great in that it gives you an excuse to splurge. I wasn't quick enough with the camera (we arrived very hungry) to get snapshots of our appetizers, but I'll tell you they were the ricotta gnudi (always rich and fresh and buttery) and a beet salad. Most of the veggies are sourced from Suzie's Farm, and we could taste the delicate earthiness in those golden beets.
I discovered a new Syrah, too, called Uber. $35 bucks, the retail cost, and what you'll pay at Cucina with a reasonable corkage of $7. I couldn't find this bottle for less than $40 at any other store, and may go back there to stock up, because damn it was nice.
Dessert! Bitter chocolate something-or-other, with the right mix of bitter, salty, sweet to keep me from going into a chocolate coma, though still there was no way I could finish it. Fortunately, a few bites were enough. And David got the Granny Apple Smith cobbler with quince and gelato. NUM.
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