Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cuchi Cuchi - Tapas & Cocktails with Vavoom

First off, Cuchi Cuchi is pronounced "koo-chee" "koo-chee" and based on the fact that there's a picture of Charro on the wall, I'm guessing the name is a nod to the over-the-top but actually talented Mexican guitarist. What it has to do with the restaurant, I haven't a clue but maybe it's Charro's quirky joie de vivre that they're tapping into.

One step in the doorway and you get the vibe. High open-beam ceilings, Victorian and Deco d├ęcor - warm, cozy, a place to settle in for the evening. The waitresses dress in vintage and I've been told by an inside source that there's a massive dressing room downstairs and the waitresses are encouraged to change throughout the evening to entertain guests - and I'm guessing themselves. How fun.

The bar is straight ahead from the entrance. It's beautiful - with three stunning stained-glass windows from the 1890s behind the bar. The atmosphere is fun, lively, usually crowded - and the bartenders make KILLER drinks, many with fresh squeezed juices and muddled herbs such as basil and mint. They also mix up an amazing White Wine Sangria which is a very refreshing summer beverage that goes down very easy - so beware.

The tapas (they prefer the term "small plates") is not limited to Spanish. In fact, the small plate options span the globe and include delicious bites influenced by Russia, France, Indian, Argentina, Italy and China. And with the most expensive dish going for $16 (the Boulliabaisse), you may as well experience a few cultures and order up a range of flavors.

Three small plates each usually does the trick. There are several that are "must-orders." The Guatemala-inspired Seafood-Filled Avocado is incredible. The avocado is peeled, cut in half and filled with succulent lobster tail (the good stuff), shrimp, octopus, scallops and salsa. It is so amazing. Just $15 for all those delicious ingredients. If you want to be naughty, go for the Brie en Croute ($12) - brie, almonds and bacon in a puff pastry. So sinful. The Cuban Cigars ($13) are sort of like Thai spring rolls on the outside. On the inside, it's all Cuban with flavorful beef short ribs and black bean salsa. Another favorite is the Savory Cornets with Tuna Tartar and Avocado Mousse which are a tribute to The French Laundry's Thomas Keller. While these are absolutely melt in your mouth wonderful, the cornets themselves do not match up to Keller's which I have had the pleasure of trying at his restaurant in New York, per se. Nevertheless, they're tasty and probably about a tenth of the price of Keller's (just $12 for 3).

As for the drinks, it's hard to go wrong. The Ginger Gimlet has a spicy, citrusy flavor I love. The Strawberry Basil Martini is a winner as well. I wouldn't necessarily put basil in my cocktails but, hey, it works! Champagne cocktails and Sangria are also winning options.

You see what I mean when I say it's a place you'll be settling in for the evening? So many tempting options to keep you there!

Cuchi Cuchi
795 Main Street (Central Square), Cambridge
Tel: 617.864.2929


Anonymous Madeira Mama said...

Sounds like a great the seafood combinations...and I bet Charro would love them too.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous claire said...

this place looks fantastic -thanks for alerting me!

12:21 PM  

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