Cube Cafe & Marketplace

So it was my birthday a few weeks back and I wanted to celebrate with a week-long festival of eating.  If you know me, you know that I don’t like to dine in large groups with a few exceptions of course (Korean bbq, potlucks, etc).  So I celebrated my birthday with separate groups of friends on different days.  I guess I really pumped my birthday for all its worth, but I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed themselves.  Round 1 consisted of Care Bear, Token Bear, MC Bowtie, The Bottomless Pit, Macadamia Bear, Teety, Buff Bear, The Pouter and Grumpy Bear.

Cube doesn’t seem like a place that is on people’s radar.  When I say people, I mean bloggers.  I get a lot of my restaurant recommendations from fellow bloggers, but I found Cube on Yelp and had it on my to-try list for some time.  It’s an Italian restaurant focused on seasonal ingredients with a great selection of cheeses and salami.  I’ll try my best to describe all the foods, but I got pretty smashed (thanks to Teety for bringing the 5 buck chuck) that night so it may be more of a pictorial than a true blog entry.

Hook’s 5-yr Cheddar cranberry 

They started us off with a nice cheddar that went nicely with the tart dried cranberry.  I don’t know much about cheeses so pardon my lack of descriptors.

Formaggi e Salumi assortment (left to right) red cow parmesan, aged balsamic vinegar, dried cranberries, gruyerre, 4-yr gouda, candied pecans, some very soft cheese like brie, salchichon, roasted marcona almonds, tartufo salami

I was pretty impressed with the nice spread our waiter selected for us.  I thought everything was delicious, and I’m not even a huge cheese fan.

Prosciutto di Parma

You can never go wrong with prosciutto!

Braised Baby Octopus charred radicchio, cipollini onion marmelata

The octopus was one probably my favorite dish of the night.  The great kick came from the char.  I think they must have a special fire in the kitchen, because anything that was “charred” was fantastic.  I never knew carcinogens could be so tasty!  

Maple Braised Berkshire Bacon creamy polenta, cipollini onions

The bacon was tender and oozing with fatty flavor.  I really liked this one.  I think this is about the time when the wine started to kick in.

Spring Pea & Beet sugar & snap peas, baby greens, feta, mint, shallot vinaigrette

Unfortunately, the salad lacked any luster.  The beets were few and the peas were fewer.  

Ahi Tuna Crudo kiwi vinaigrette, shahi, sea salt, olive oil

The vinaigrette really tasted like kiwis.  It was a little strange for me.

Mimmo’s Burrata marinated sun gold tomatoes, aged balsamic, house rosemary focaccia

Alone, the components weren’t that impressive, but eaten all together, well it was a little party in my mouth.  The creaminess of the burrata came out and was nicely complemented by the tart tomatoes.  The focaccia rounded it all out.

Duck Confit Ravioli blood orange brown butter, sage, red cow parmesan

The pastas seemed to be the big disappointment of the night.  I can’t remember much to this, but MC Bowtie didn’t seem to like it.

Smoked Porterhouse Pork Chop roasted all-red potatoes, agrodolce greens

I had a bite, but really I don’t remember anything besides it tasting like meat.  I think The Bottomless Pit liked this.

Beer Braised Lamb Shank velvet pioppini, shitake & porcini mushrooms, toasted farro, charred asparagus

My memory of this is definitely fuzzier than how the photo turned out.  I think this was popular since the other half other table ordered this one during round 2.  The meat was pretty tender.

Fresh Maltagliati oxtail ragu, fava beans, red cow parmesan

I ordered this and was pretty disappointed.  The pasta did not have the right al dente texture.  It was too soft.  The sauce was more like a light sauce than a ragu.  No bueno.

Black Magic Truffle Cake valrhona dark chocolate ganache, crunch pearls

Chocolatey!

Cobbler Duo strawberry-rhubarb and apple-grape cobblers, tahitian vanilla bean gelato

Fruity center with a crunchy topping.  Yum!

I missed a photo of one of my favorite dishes of the night, charred broccoli! (thanks to The Bottomless Pit for ordering it for me as he saw me drooling over it while the other half of the tabled chowed down on it).   It was seriously amazing, but that could have been the wine talking.  I’ll have to go back and try it while sober.  There was really nothing to them as far as I could guess, just salt, pepper, olive oil, and char.  They were served with a lemon butter which you could pour all over it but I preferred mine without any sauce.   I’m going to try charring my broccoli.  Do you think a Foreman Grill will work?

All in all, I really really really enjoyed myself here.  And it’s not just cuz of the food or wine, but because of the  friends who were able to make it.  Sure is tough to get people together these days.  Everybody always has something going on, so I’m glad people were able to make time for little ol’ me and some solid Italian food that was not just pasta.  If you go here and you don’t like it, I take no responsibility since I was not of sober mind.  Just be happy the photos turned out decent.

Cube Cafe & Marketplace

615 North La Brea Avenue

Los Angeles, CA

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