We went to Cucina 24 tonight based on all the good reviews, so here's my report. I could not help but compare it to Sugo, perhaps in part due to the fact that they sat us by the window with a perfect view of it from above the street. Loved the space, they have done a great job. It was a Wednesday at 7:30 and we got the last table outside of sitting at the bar. Service was fine, nothing stellar, nothing horrible...we had a lot of questions because some thing on the menu were unfamilar to me (cacio, guanciale), and she was able to answer all of that but when we asked for her picks between our narrowed down choices she hadn't tried a lot of the things on the menu. She also mixed up on of the apps we ordered (3 for $11 antpasti plate), but that worked out well because she caught it and brought us out the original order, so we had 4 apps instead of 3.
For the antipasti we had citrus cured olives, fried mozzarella, proscuitto/melon and artichoke hearts topped with some crunchy breadcrubs. Let me stop here and say that if you are going to compare Sugo and C24, then I think Sugo wins hands down on the starter front. Everything we have tried at Sugo has been amazing, and the antipasti here was just OK. Everything was a little bland except for the olives, and well...they were just olives. They also gave us thow very thin slices of bread with some nice green olive oil, but again...I'll take the warm hunks from Sugo with the yummy white bean dip over that any day.
Entrees. Maybe I am out of line because we opted for pasta instead of a secondi, but I also thought I'd rather be down at Sugo. Not that C24 was bad, it was good. I had the carbonara, which was very peppery and had a nice portion of fried pork cheek (bacon-y) scattered throughout, but I got kind of sick of it after a few bites. My husband ordered a special, wild boar paparadelle (I know I am misspelling that) that was braised in white wine, citrus and olives. His was much better, the pasta extremely thin, light and fresh...a nice complement to the flavorful meat. Still, we could not help but compare it to the boar pasta with cherries that we have enjoyed many times at Sugo that is so delicious.
I guess I should be very thankful that there is more than one place now to have a nice pasta/Italian meal here in Asheville, not to mention for a reasonable price (at both places, pasta dishes are in the $13-18 range). I would go back to Cucina 24, but I still wish the very best for Sugo. I think it is a notch above what we had tonight.
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