CUCINA enoteca has fired up the pizza oven, stocked the shelves of the wine shop and is open for business in the Irvine Spectrum Center. The newly opened sister restaurant of well lauded CUCINA urbana in San Diego, CUCINA enoteca is the latest venture from innovative restaurateur Tracy Borkum.
The modern kitchen-meets-historic farmhouse is one of Orange County’s only retail wine shop and restaurant-in-one concepts. Guests can purchase hand-selected wines of the Americas and Mediterranean at retail price either to enjoy with their meal or take to go.
Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli is celebrated for his California-inspired Italian classics prepared with organic and sustainable products and produce grown on local farms. Lauren “Lulu” De Rouen, CUCINA enoteca’s chef de cuisine, will helm the kitchen and add her own creative touches to the menu, drawing inspiration from seasonal ingredients and her roots in French cuisine.
The inventive menu is comprised of vasi, antipasti, boards, insalate, pizza, pasta, piatti and dolce. Vasi – mini mason jars filled with flavorful creations to be tasted atop Tuscan toast – include favorites like Gorgonzola Walnut Mousse, Chicken Pate and Burrata with E.V.O.O. Signature polenta boards create an experience for patrons when creamy mascarpone polenta is served from individual copper pots tableside with the evening’s ragu. Children can enjoy the Modo Mia Pizza, a make-your-own-pie experience, and patrons can experience new flavors as well as some CUCINA urbana favorites, including Ricotta Gnudi, Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Veal Piccata, Short Rib Pappardelle and Foraged Mushroom and Truffle Oil Pizza.
CUCINA enoteca’s bar menu is equally inventive, comprised of specialty cocktails, artisan beers and house-infused liquors including cucumber, mint and lime gin, vanilla bean bourbon, ginger pear vodka and red jalapeño tequila. Wines from an extensive list are offered at retail prices with only a $10 corkage fee.
A feast for the hungry palate as well the eyes, CUCINA enoteca offers an atmosphere of casual elegance in a strikingly visual environment. A focus on raw, sustainable material and reclaimed local material makes up the interior, evoking a modern kitchen combined with the history and comfort of an old rustic farmhouse. A touch of home, splash of bohemia and many objects new and old attract the eye. The restaurant includes a 6,700-square-foot dining room and two oversized patios totaling 2,700 square feet for outdoor dining, a retail wine shop, bar, community seating and unmatched design and ambiance.