Cuchillo, opened a few weeks ago in the heart of downtown east side where Railtown meets Chinatown. They have seen their share of protests so I decided to go and show my support. Cuchillo serves up creative Latin American dishes that are meant to be shared.
Unfortunately, they were just vandalized a few hours before, so they had to board up one of their windows. Don’t let this deter you from going though, this restaurant is worth a try.
They have this beautiful tall table parallel to the bar and in the back they have lounge area with comfy recliners. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxing, décor is similar to the Diamond in Gastown, except Cuchillo’s service is far superior, everyone was welcoming and staff was knowledgeable. The service I received at Diamond was so bad that they were added and moved up to the top of my blacklist, the only restaurant on this list because of poor service, the others I was due to food poisoning. I will save that story for later.
They serve my favourite mojito’s in town. I like my classic drinks to stay classic. I stay away from any berry infused drinks. Cuchillo topped their mojito’s with dark rum. Yummy! My friend said it was too minty but, I I thought it was the perfect hit.
Antojitos and Taqueria’s – small plates and tacos
Corn bread azul with guajillo chili butter $7 was made out of blue cornmeal resulting in a grainier texture. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Corn bread are usually very dense, Cuchillo’s was fluffier and moist. The chili butter gave it some nice heat.
White bean parmasean fundido $8 with corn chips is quite filling. It is essentially a white bean dip, with pumpkin seed, cotija Monterey jack, sardo parmesan and two other Argentinean cheeses. The cheese was sharp, heavy on garlic and the bean was a perfect consistency. You’d need an appetite, this is a heavy dish
Mixto Traditionale, octopus, sidestripe prawn, rockfish, mussels, clams, sweet potato puree. $14. After having the last two dishes that had huge flavor, the ceviche was relatively light. The seafood was fresh but, I would have liked more seasoning.
Mole Lamb albondigas, sardo parmasean browned garlic popcorn $8. This was my favourite dish, the lamb which was served in a lamb-ball was amazing. Think the lamb mixture was mixed with beef, I don’t get the intense gaminess lamb flavor. It was juicey and topped with popcorn which gave it a nice texture. I have to admit I was sold on the popcorn first before our server even mentioned lamb.
Morita chili bbq pulled pork. This pulled pork taco was pretty run of the mill. The bbq sauce was very nice, sweet, not overly savoury and the pulled pork wasn’t drowning in the sauce. I’ve had so many pulled pork dishes that I getting sick of it. This would be my last pulled pork dish for the season.
My two cents on DTES Gentrification Protests…
As for this bullshit about it being expensive, well it is more expensive than Everything $5? Yes, the quality of the food is far superior, what do you expect to pay for quality ingredients, of course it costs more. Share plates range from $6 – 14, you get two decent sized tacos for $8 and, entrees range from $18 – $24. The prices are a little lower than what you would find in the heart of downtown and the food is crazy good. It’s not an Applebee’s, you won’t get bottomless fries and a heaping plate of pasta bigger than your head, that’s just nasty. So before you whine that it’s too expensive, go out to comparable restaurants around town to get some perspective.
DTES is not exactly a tourist attraction but, some parts of Gastown isn’t either. If I never venture out then I would not get a chance to experience gems like Pidgin and Cuchillo. Try it out yourself before you turn up your nose at these restaurants because of their location.