I think it's all but impossible to enter Cuchara and not come away completely charmed by the dining room and all its vibrant energy. Between the colorful murals from Mexico City artist Cecilia Beaven that decorate the walls -- and even the ceiling -- and the warm, inviting smells floating out of the open kitchen, it's simply an inviting and inspiring place to be. Even if you're not eating there.
In this week's cafe review of Cuchara, I'll admit that I wasn't as charmed by the food as I was by the decor and drinks. But because the space is still so new, I still hold out a lot of hope for it to make significant improvements. And because I just love the contagious energy of it -- as well as the unique, spot-on cocktails, fun wine list and striking decor -- it's one of those spots I've found myself recommending to friends time and again, especially for those seeking a fun night out with friends in a casual, upbeat atmosphere.
Montrose needed something like Cuchara. It needed a casual, quasi-ethnic bistro that's just chic enough to be intriguing without being off-putting. And the city needed it, too. We've dealt in Tex-Mex and Tex-Mex alone for far too long, so I love seeing places such as Cuchara and La Fisheria stepping up to the plate alongside stalwart Hugo's to challenge diner's notions of what Mexican food should or could be.
I realized a funny thing during my last visit to Cuchara, on a drizzly Tuesday night spent catching up with an old friend at the bar: Whether or not you like the food at Ana Beaven and Charlie McDaniel's so-called "Mexico City bistro" is almost entirely beside the point. But with any luck -- and a lot of great expectations on my end -- that will change very soon, and Cuchara will be equally acclaimed for its food.
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