Plate It

the-deconstructBy day, Cucina is a wildly popular deli and cafe. In the evenings, the eatery morphs into a fine dining, albeit casual, restaurant with an imaginative menu created by talented chef Joey Ferran. An extensive small-plates selection is complemented by a handful of salads, entrees and desserts. Dishes like pork-belly pozole, tandoori lamb chops, house ramen noodles and smoked duck breast with Sriracha mustard, tamari chia and sesame seeds are as delicious as they are eye-popping.

For Ferran’s fried chicken lollipops and tofu agedashi dish he begins by skinning chicken drumsticks and forming the meat into “lollipop” shapes. The chicken is then parked in a marinade of sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and seasonings before being breaded with panko crumbs and fried.

Cubes of tofu are also breaded and flash-fried and the chicken lollipops and tofu are served with a chili paste of ginger, galangal, shallots, garlic, arbol chiles and other vibrant ingredients, garnished with silky and spicy red chili threads. Chef Ferran’s lollipops are as dazzling on the palate as they are on the plate.

—Ted Scheffler

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