The atmosphere at Cuchi Cuchi, a saucy small plates restaurant/cocktail lounge, offers a welcome change of pace in a city notorious for being just a little too buttoned up. Glamorously designed in vivid colors and vintage décor, and with a staff outfitted in retro attire, Cuchi Cuchi immediately transports you to the salon party of a belle époque era bon vivant.
The décor is artfully sensuous, decadent, yet tasteful; a 19th century French Salome painting in a massive Rococo frame and a bronze nude sculptural fountain frame a doorway, colorful glass lamps cast a moody glow across the room, and an aged hardwood bar silently beckons to the thirsty. Over the bar hang three striking blue-green stained glass windows from a 19th century Chicago restaurant and the intimate rear dining room features glittering glass brick partitions and walls of gold-veined mirrors. The exposed rafts give you the strange sense that you are standing on a stage as the 1930s music playing in the background hums and pops with a low-tech crackle.
You know you’re a guest at an intensely mad party when you realize that your waitress is wearing a short beaded red dress and a bowl of fruit on her head. The whole staff, in fact, seems to be wearing glittering, swinging dresses and feathers quivering in their immense hairdos. Even the male bartender is sporting what appears to be an utterly fabulous diamond necklace that winks as he shakes your cocktail with a sparkle in his eye.
The far-flung international small plates menu is as compelling as the heady décor, fancy costumes, and worldly vibe—culinary inspirations are drawn from Russia to Cambodia and include dishes like Argentinean skirt steak, grilled Indian lamb, chicken Kiev, and Panamanian scallop ceviche. All are incredible.
Cuchi Cuchi is also serious about their cocktails. The 4-page drink menu has two main sections: Cuchi Cocktails and Vintage Cocktails. The Cuchi Cocktails are more on the fruity side and include standouts like Salome’s Potion, with muddled blackberries, basil, Hendricks gin, and BeBopADivaImYourBaby, a refreshing blend of lemon and lychee spirits. Favorites among the Vintage Cocktails are the Pegu Club, made with gin, curacao, lime, and orange bitters, and Last Word, with gin, maraschino liqueur, Chartreuse, and lime.
Cuchi Cuchi is probably not for everyone…it’s a little frou frou, a little too theatrical at moments—but it is an escape to another time and place. Sometimes, that’s just what you need.
Cuchi Cuchi: 795 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 864-2929