Cugini’s Ristorante and Pizzeria has always been one of my daughter’s favorite restaurants. It’s always one of her first answers when we ask her where she would like to eat. She’s such a regular that the waiters now know to bring her balsamic vinegar before she even asks for it. I’ve had dinner there several times, and it’s always been fine, but it never bowled me over.
But lunch—well, now, that’s a meal of a different color! They have a lunch menu that has several items that are not available for dinner, many of them more interesting to me than their night fare. I’ve had lunch there before and ordered the steak sandwich that comes with a mushroom gravy and fries. Now that’s terrific. This time I ordered the spicy chipotle chicken sandwich, which had heat but not a lot of flavor. It greatly improved with a slathering of mustard, however. The accompanying steak fries were great. Dave gave his BLT a thumbs up, and George was very happy with his steak salad. (I had a bite of the steak, which was quite tender and yummy.)
I ordered an iced tea, which had very little taste. I asked for lemon, and that helped a bit, but I won’t order it there again. Dave and George decided to splurge and get cocktails, which made my iced tea seem even more boring. I knew that not only was a cocktail empty calories that I could not afford, but it would probably diminish my capacity for the editorial work I still had on my afternoon agenda. So I resisted. Dave got a Slap and a Kiss. (Isn’t that the greatest drink name ever?) It was a rye/lemon/gum syrup concoction, and he enjoyed it. George got a beautiful drink called a Hibiscus iced tea, which was the opposite of boring. It had St. George’s gin, sugar, lemon, and hibiscus tea, which gave it such lovely color. I got a taste of it, and it was way better than my iced tea.
When it’s beautiful weather, as it has been of late, it’s nice to sit either outside or next to the large open windows so you feel like you’re at a little sidewalk trattoria in Italy.
The service at Cugini’s is quite good. (My water glass was never empty.) And the décor is very Italian, with lots of colorful artwork adorning the walls. Lunch is also less expensive than their dinner menu. (Although the cocktails certainly inflated our bill.)
Bottom line? I will definitely go again some time for lunch, preferably on a day when I don’t have to go back to work…