Tamara says to Fernanda:

"I believe this would be a perfectly lovely bowl in which to serve one of our 'straight up' dishes!"




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The Boston Herald

Sexy Cuchi Cuchi Boosts Senses
By Robin Vaughan
June 2002

"The bar at Cuchi Cuchi, next door to Bertucci's on Main Street in Central Square, is recommended by a friend as the 'sexiest' watering hole in town. A Monday night visit tends to support the claim.

This place is like a page out of Colette. The décor is heavy on art nouveau decadence, implemented lavishly but with taste and wit. Antique glazed tile is a defining design feature; big ornamental statements create moody tableau all over the place.

Details include a sensuous 19th century French Salome painting in a massive Rococo frame, a bronze nude sculptural fountain by the door, Pairpoint glass lampshades, an aged hardwood bar bordered with zinc. Over the bar hang three stunning blue-green stained glass windows from a 19th century Chicago restaurant; an intimate rear dining room features glass brick partitions and walls of gold-veined mirrors.

The contradiction of modern, exposed ceiling rafters lends the whole spread a theatrical look, like a stage set for 'Gigi. '

Adding to the drama this evening is a blonde in a little red dress somewhat flamboyantly celebrating her birthday with her friends on the staff and a bottle of good champagne, but without her fiancé, whom she wonders if she should marry because they fight so often. Ah, l'amour.

The bartender is a friendly Icelandic beauty named Margret, a high-profile bistro-circuit vet who's been here four weeks and says she loves it, mainly because the place draws a crowd of interesting grownups.

The elegant, Portuguese-born Fernanda da Silva is the owner on duty tonight. (Her partners are close friends Barbara Dollar and Tamara Bourso, co-owner of Dalí Restaurant with Mario Leon). The music is sultry, amusing, exotic - Latin crooners and chanteuses, modern mixes, a bit of 'Zorba the Greek'.

A sense of female sensuality strongly defines Cuchi Cuchi, but the staff is about evenly mixed, male to female, with several popular bartenders on board.

Mark, off duty this evening, sounds particularly interesting, as described - a flamboyant wit who speaks five self-taught languages fluently and dresses up the place with his 'rather dashing' rhinestone necklaces, as Dollar puts it in a conversation later in the week.

Cuchi Cuchi is named in honor of one of Bourso's favorite icons: Charo's autographed photo hangs in a place of honor, in a fancy gold frame.

The phrase means 'whatever you need it to mean,' says Dollar, but there's sex appeal in all interpretation.

'In Asia, it means 'mouth'', she says. 'But mainly it means 'naughty good times'. It really suited Charo. She was a brilliant classical guitarist, and no one really knows that because she's always out there being a complete goof, which is so charming about her. '

The Monday night crowd is fairly intimate. The front dining room is about half-full; a few couples and groups of friends are at the bar, representing the restaurant's regular mix of laid-back academics, area professionals and neighborhood types.

Since Cuchi Cuchi opened in July (2001), an ideal clientele has found its way here strictly by word of mouth, says Dollar.

'I love our customers. We've been lucky to find a very elegant, sophisticated crowd, from young people from MIT to many (age groups) that that crowd calls 'older' - 40s, 50s, 60s.

One of the things that made us open a restaurant was traveling in Europe together, where it's not at all uncommon for middle-aged people to go out, or to see an elegant 60-year-old woman at the bar. '

The worldly but relaxed adult vibe here is as compelling a draw as the heady décor and the far flung international small plates menu - culinary inspirations are drawn from Russia to Cambodia.

It's nice to be treated with enough respect to be warned off a misguided choice from the cocktail menu. Margaret shakes her head 'no,' to the Happiness Cocktail, an elaborate concoction whose title seemed appealing a second ago (and which recipe was corrected after this writing).

'Try the blackberry martini,' she says. 'That's a really good one. '

So it is. "



Cuchi Cuchi
795 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel: 617.864.2929     Fax: 617.864.7997