If you remember, I wrote about my visit to Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Somerville a few months ago. So when Erica suggested we visit Dali’s sister spot in Cambridge–Cuchi Cuchi–I was definitely in.
Just as its male counterpart, upon entering Cuchi Cuchi, we were greeted with eclectic decor and quite the wait and bar staff. The restaurant’s website describes the space as personifying the “age of Old World beauty and early Hollywood.” And it certainly does. They also explain that the food is “international, ‘straight-up’ smaller plates to be paired and shared.” Its menu is comprised of dishes from around the world, with the restaurant’s own twists on the classics. I loved that they don’t want you to refer to the plates as tapas (from Spain). According to Cuchi Cuchi, their “dishes are larger, and we prefer to globe trot.”
We knew we were certainly in for a treat.
We were seated in the back of the restaurant, away from the hustle and bustle of the entrance and bar area. We decided to start with the cocktail list–and boy is this thing extensive. I mean, we are talking pages and pages of drink options. Once we got through those (which were all delish), it was time to dig into the actual menu.
My two dining companions (Erica and Andrea) and I decided to order about two dishes for each of us. We went with the potato croquettes, gratin dauphinois from France (baked thin-sliced potatoes, onions, cheese, and cream), seafood-filled avocado from Guatemala (grilled shrimp, scallops, octopus, and lobster), beef stroganoff from Russia (pan-seared tenderloin with shallot and mushroom sauce on egg noodles), duck a l’Orange crepes from France (roasted duck with citrus and fennel vinaigrette), and grilled Indian lamb (masala lentil salad, cucumber-mint raita, and lentil flour papadum).
The potato croquettes came first–accompanied by two dipping sauces. Erica was in heaven (she loves her dipping sauces). Then the duck a l’Orange crepes found their way to our table. The duck was super tender, and the orange sauce was super sweet. It was delightful. The seafood-stuff avocado and gratin dauphinois came next. I adored the avocado, which featured all of the seafood tossed in a simple citrus vinaigrette. Since it was served along with the gratin, which was creamy and potato-y and over-the-top, the two were a great pair. Finally, the beef stroganoff and lamb was brought to the table. The lamb fell apart when I stabbed it with my fork, which is just the way I like it. And the mint sauce and lentil salad were the perfect additions to the dish. The only plate I didn’t love was the beef stroganoff. I had made my own version a couple of weeks before, and this deconstructed version just didn’t do it for me. The sauce was more gravy than sour-cream based, and I wasn’t impressed at all.
Although we were stuffed, we couldn’t turn down dessert. We got the cheesecake with berries, tiramisu, and le gâteau nantais (almond rum cake with poached mini pears). We all tried bites of each dessert and it turns out we each had a favorite–which we happily devoured.
All in all, it was a delightful night out with lovely company. I was very happy with the food choices, and there are so many other plates I now want to try. The female servers were attentive, super knowledgeable, and very fun. Cuchi Cuchi is the perfect place to go for a bachelorette party (which was actually the last time Andrea visited the restaurant) or a night out with the ladies. Grab a fancy cocktail and start munching (but don’t call them tapas)!