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Restaurant Week at Cucina Urbana – Unexpectedly Good

Dining at Cucina Urbana, Banker’s Hill

What a delightful evening out at Cucina Urbana last night, to kick off Restaurant Week!

A picture is worth a thousand words so here are the shots!

Our Wine Director ‘comp’d’ the Chef Marian Table these wonderful starters

Totally unexpected, this came out of the kitchen prior to the meal starting:

‘Complementary’ mini mason jars with tuscan toast…. but it was more…. more kinds of bread plus artichoke & olive tapenade, chicken liver pate, brown sugar shallot, ceci bean hummus, piquillo jam, gorgonzola walnut mousse… valued at $27.50. Worth sitting at Chef Marian’s Table, no? lol

And guess what? They sell their wine at retail pricing and Sunday there’s NO corkage fee (normally $8). And I will say that their selection is memorable. They have bottles you just don’t see at a restaurant normally. I was impressed!

Next came the appetizers:

Watermelon Panzanella

The watermelon was soaked in sambuca with house made ricotta and focaccia croutons. So fresh. So good.

And I will again say: unexpected. I mean when you order a Watermelon Panzanella you don’t know what you’re going to get. And I like the fun names they use. Beautiful plating, anticipation created by its’ name, nice flavor and choice. Very appetizing!

Prosciutto Cotto Carpaccio

Oooh baby!

First of all…. how pretty is THAT? lol

And then the big surprise… again … unexpected!

it said ‘truffle oil’ but they actually shaved white truffles!

There’s nothing better than a restaurant that delivers more than you expect and this was all at $30 a head!

Short Rib Papparadelle

Short Rib Papparadelle with cremini mushrooms & parmigiano.

Well, I don’t eat meat. Well…. I actually do eat meat, but just once or twice a year, and maybe 2 or three bites. And that’s what I did with this dish and took a doggie bag to give to  my son, who loves beef.

Well seasoned, fall apart on the plate…….just a couple of bites, but I can’t say that for the pasta! lol

They make the pasta ‘in house’. Are ya feelin’ me? It was wider than Pappardelle normally is.

So good. So good.

Bittersweet Chocolate Budino

I tasted all the desserts… and this  Bittersweet Chocolate Budino wins my vote. Seriously, seriously good. And Karen (one of our foodies) mentioned that there was a study done and dessert hits a different part of your palate… which is why when you’re stuffed, you still magically have room for dessert!

And that we did!

I couldn’t put the spoon down. My rule about no more than 3 bites? Right out the window! lol

I think everyone at our table agrees: the ‘wait’ staff – which includes the waiter at the bar, was highly knowledgeable about their wines, and made ‘stellar’ recommendations’. Samantha…..the Wine Director? She personally talked with our group at the bar, intentionally came over to the table to see if we were enjoying ourselves, sent over two platters of starters ‘on the house’, (after the meal we went into their wine store and she offered up  a taste of what we were looking to buy) and our waitress could not have been nicer or helpful. Did I mention what Mindy, one of our Foodies had to say? She commented that the bus boy was really sweet.

The Hard Working Crew in the Kitchen

Now when is the last time you went into a restaurant, love, love, LOVED the management and staff…..love, love, LOVED the ambiance and the people you were dining with, love, love, LOVED the food? Seriously! Would you say that was a good night out? I’d say: UNEXPECTED!

Restaurant Week continues tonight….

We still have seats available for Kitchen 1540 in Del Mar. We’ve got 4 others, including George’s California Modern and Burlap! Just view the upper right of this page. Please go on San Diego Foodies on Meetup.com and if you would like to attend and RSVP. You can then PayPal mm@chefmarian.com or call me with a credit card: 858-224-2550.

And if you prefer not to go on meetup and register, just call me!

Hope to see you soon!

Happy eating…….

Chef Marian



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  1. My good friend just joined your group and was very impressed. Is there a meet up like this one in the OC area?? Would like to find out if anyone knows. Thanks

    • I am sure there is. You won’t have Chef Marian….. but there are great foodie events all over. As a matter of fact, I am attending the Golden Foodie Awards in OC this weekend! Check out Chef Melinda on Meetup.com!

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