I made reservations for my husband and I at Cucina Urbana to celebrate Father's Day while we were visiting family this past weekend. We'd eaten there before but not for several years. I'm happy to report that it was just as good if not better than the last visit. We had the grilled octopus - beautifully charred and crispy outside, tender and meaty within - a single large tentacle served with whole and pureed ceci (garbanzo beans), a bit of tomatoey sauce, a scattering of greens and a few slices of fried fingerling potato. It was my favorite dish of the evening. My least favorite was the other appetizer - the suckling pig, which was cooked, shredded, and pressed and seared and served with poached egg, frisee, crispy skin and sherry sugo which was a bit too sweet. The pork was tasty but sort of stringy and chewy and I just wanted succulent slices and crispy skin and the skin part was sliced so thin that as soon as you mixed everything together as suggested by our runner, you lost the contrast a bit. Instead of main courses we split a pasta - sweet corn agnolotti with sorrel and speck - delicious and bright tasting with very al dente pasta and the clean tang of the sorrel - and the lamb sausage pizza with honey ricotta. The pizza crust was blackened but not too much so, chewy and not too thick or thin. I wanted a bit more crunch but the lamb was beautifully seasoned, the house ricotta creamy and delicate, and the honey was earthy and not overly sweet.
With 2 cocktails and a bottle of wine our bill was around $120.
There was only one dessert we were remotely interested in - the banana cannoli - but we opted to pick up cake at Extraordinary Desserts instead (the Basque bundt cake is phenomenal especially gently warmed like they serve it to you there).
What other places with similar quality food would you recommend for our next visit? We usually hit up holes-in-the-wall like Canada Steakburger and Mariscos German or beer food like Carnitas Snack Shack and Blind Lady but we'd definitely like to try San Diego's higher-end offerings.
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