Welcome Cucciolo

The person in our family who really should work at Durham Magazine is Russ Lange because he is always first to alert me about news going on about town. He was the one who told me the sad new that Phoebe Lawless was closing both Mini Scratch and the Lakewood, both of which we loved, but maybe not often enough. He told me about his beloved Basan closing before it was even announced publicly. That is a real blow to his office mates since it was across the street from CMG.

Russ is not just the deliverer of closings, but opening too. A week or so ago he altered me that a new Italian restaurant, Cucciolo, was opening up next to the West End Wine bar and that he already found out they were going to be making carbonara. That is big new in the Russ Lange world.

So I broke my cardinal rule of not visiting a new restaurant in the first week of their opening because Russ went ahead and made a reservation for tonight, the first night they were taking reservations. Apparently the place is owned by a Korean chef and he is not making Korean Italian fusion, just Italian. According to my source of all knowledge, Russ says the guy’s cousin owns the number one Italian Restaurant in Seoul, that has a Michelin Star, so this is the Durham outpost.

The space is not large, but has good lighting. We were waited on by a very friendly guy, Antoine and he was very enthusiastic about the offerings. Russ had already decided on the carbonara, but was overwhelmed with other choices in that starter category. We finally narrowed it down to a fig and goat cheese bruschetta with prosciutto and honey and a 3 mushroom dish. Both were outstanding. I was trying to be good so I had the green salad which I would go back for and Russ had a double of carbonara so he had leftovers for breakfast.

There was much on the menu we wanted to try and Russ was asking me when I was going out of town next so he can come back without any pasta guilt. I am sorry to see restaurants we love go, but happy the new one is worth multiple visits.

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