We were 5 at Buca on Friday night.
Service was great (and beautiful too). All around, the staff were very friendly and attentive.
The food was good, but too small. I love the idea of "Cucina Rustica della Nonna"; it's so nice to see a restaurant serving this type of Italian food. This type of food (in Italy and Nonna's kitchen) can be characterized with one word: "generous". It is truly food of love. And the portions should be ample. Such ampleness is inherent to the cuisine itself.
We started with a bunch of salumi. It was good; not better than the platter at Nota Bene, mind you, but good. We cut up a prosciutto pizza, which was well done. Very nice, thin, but crispy, and not overtopped. Funghi fritti were very good, but the portion was laughably small. For Pietro's sakes, it's mushroom! Be generous with it! Warm olives and Nodini (little fresh-baked breadknots) were very yummy, but overpriced.
My main was polenta with lamb neck and beef shortribs. Very nice, and served on a wooden platter. Good pieces of meat, not too fatty. Quite good. Someone had a spaghetti carbonara which was really tasty, although, to me, it's something one makes at home (for less than $18). But, Buca does their carbonara by the book and it's great; maybe even a surprise for many people who think of it as an Alfredo-style dish. Little balsamic-braised onions were absolutely scrumptious.
I like Buca. It's interesting to see this type of food served to pretty young urban people. And maybe that explains the inappropriately downsized portions: they have adapted this rustic style of food to King-west clientele. And, to Buca, that requires shrinking the food. Now, I know that my whole little review here is themed around portion size: but, again, it's that generosity that, to me, characterizes this type of food. All in all, however, I am happy to see this type of Italian food being served in our city. I think that regional Italian cuisine has yet to be properly explored by our city's chefs and I look forward to more.
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA