Sunday, October 14, 2012

La Cucina

Now I know I always say "I've been wanting to go to this place forever....." BUT, for La Cucina, I've been wanting to go since they opened! Ever since they opened earlier this year in April, they've been bustling with crowds of people. There is even the rumor that you have to book a week in advance for this place! That's how good it's supposed to be.

Well, I finally made it down to Imperial Plaza this past week (also where Angry Korean Lady is located). You can find street parking or park in their parking structure for free- just make sure to get your ticket validated. We went so late one night (845pm!) that the gate was already up, and we didn't even need to take a ticket.

Since we went so late on a Tuesday, I didn't think getting a seat would be a problem. I thought wrong. The one staff member, who took care of hostessing and taking care of the entire restaurant, told us there would be a 30 minute wait. We looked at her confused and said, "But you close at 930pm?" But she just nodded. Apparently it didn't matter to them that we would be seated at 9:15pm. Thankfully, she called us around 9:05pm, and we were seated.

We ordered their Porcini Crostini that everyone raved about on Yelp, to start. It was definitely a winner in my book. The crostini was crispy and topped with lots of Porcini mushroom bits. What I really liked was that there's a hidden piece of mozzarella under all of that. Take a bite, and a thick string of cheese will stretch out.

For my entreé, I was on the fence between their two Lobster Raviolis- one was in a Vodka sauce that reminded me of the pasta I had at Cucina Rustica in Sedona. It was literally the best pasta I have ever tasted. I dream about it, and sadly, I haven't found anything nearly close to the way it tasted since. BOOOOO.

Well, back to La Cucina- the second Lobster Ravioli on the menu was in a saffron sauce and the ravioli was made out of squid ink. I was really leaning towards the vodka sauce one, but the waitress said her favorite was the squid ink ravioli, plus lots of Yelp reviews rated it high on their list. I gave in and took her suggestion.

I figured it'd be just like the Lobster Ravioli I had at Mediterraneo (their ravioli was made out of squid ink as well), though the sauce in La Cucina's was definitely lighter and had a more distinct saffron flavor. It was stuffed with a hefty amount of lobster chunks. I liked that.

B ordered their Carbonara. He said it was definitely tasty, but really heavy. I had a bite- yep, definitely on the heavier side...but with LOTS of cheese. And oh yeah, bacon and sausage! YUM!

My favorite of the night? DESSERT! Wow, if you decide to eat here, please do try their Creme Brulée Cheesecake. Unexpectedly light and so, so creamy and delectable. The top is torched, so that it's crispy just like regular Creme Brulée. This was a straight-up winner!

The restaurant is small, and the waitress actually did a good job of taking care of all the tables' needs and doing everything in a timely matter, albeit running around everywhere.

I admit this place is pretty expensive. Reminded me of Mediterraneo, quite frankly. I'm glad I went once, but don't know if I'd be back. Also, pretty inconvenient that the restaurant is small. You will probably have to wait, not to mention, they don't take reservations for parties less than 4. I don't even want to imagine how crowded this restaurant is on the weekends! On the other hand, there are so many delicious-sounding menu items that I'd love to try. Maybe sometime in the near future.....

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