Today is: Sunday, February 18, 2018
Cube Café, Cheese Bar and Marketplace Review
Cube Market Place offers diners a hint of old world Italian charm; it is a market, a cheese bar and a restaurant at the same time. With a great ambiance, gracious, the decor is subtly modern; the menu is classic, celebrating Northern Italian cuisine.
Specialties include classic pasta dishes, amazing cheeses, wines, salami, with especially tempting daily specials offered by Cube Owner Alex Palermo, along with Cube Executive Chef Erin Eastland and Gourmet Buyer Rachael Sheridan who spends
time in the kitchen at his family's home in Orvieto, preparing a seasonal Italian meal
for friends and family using ingredients from the Umbria region. In addition to
the cuisine, the restaurant’s charming and welcoming features--including an
extensive wine list, elegant patio setting, and romantic main dining room.
Cube Market Place café’s menu is based on traditional Italian cooking with a strong Californian influence. They shop at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, use organic whenever possible, and only buy meat that is raised naturally and cruelty free.
Their specials menu is based upon different Italian regions with a
Californian flair and changes every Thursday.
The cheese bar boasts over 85 different cheeses from around the globe
and changesconstantly and with the seasons. They stock salumi from
Fatted Calf, Pio Tosini aswell as importing their own
salumi from the Marche region of Italy.
Fantastic Selection of Wines
Located at La Brea Avenue and Melrose, the
restaurant hardly calls attention to
itself. What lies behind the
plain exterior is one of the city’s finest classic
Italian restaurants, one
that equates dining with tuxedoed waiters,
white tablecloths, and classic preparation.
Swinging open, they reveal a small entryway, with
an intimate bar. The bar is the
first thing that greets the eye, it seems
classic and old world. Should
you arrive early, do try to stop here for an aperitif.
Fresh Bread and Cheese
Four Cheese Mac and
Our meal began with a brimming basket of still-warm Italian bread. Lightly crisp, with
a piece of cheese… it was one of the most tempting baskets of bread I’d been served.
To distract ourselves from filling up before our menus even arrived; we perused the
wine list, which offers an outstanding selection of Californian and Italian wines. While
most of the wines are only available by the bottle, a modest selection of wines by the
glass offers a decent variety of Italian and Californian varietals; we opted for two
glasses, my date the Dolcetto D’alba, and myself the Nebbiolo 2004.
Beef Carpaccio with Shaved Fennel & Arugula Salad
The menu was quite approachable, spanning about 4 pages of selected Formaggi
e Salumi yet offering a range of options. In addition to the varied selection
of entrée, insalate, antipasti, pizza and desserts. The Chef always
offers a rotating selection of fresh fish and daily specials.
Bluefin Tuna Belly Trio
We opted to start with a classic Italian antipasti dish, the Beef Carpaccio. The broad
plate that arrived was lively and colorful: thin slices of raw filet mignon sat beneath a layer of shaved fennel and arugula salad, and a third layer of even thinner slivers of parmesan. Olive oil, garnish topped off the plate. While the presentation was delightful,
we wasted no time scooping up generous slivers of the delicate dish. The meat itself was rich and flavorful, and was complimented perfectly by the earthy arugula and the crisp, biting parmesan. We enjoyed every bite of the authentic appetizer, but perhaps my favorite moment of the course came near the end: when our server, who was making rounds from table to table, passed by, and spying a small portion
remaining on the plate, he graciously lifted the platter, divided the
remaining Carpaccio in two, and spooned half onto each of our
plates. It was a rare and genuine act of hospitality.
Fresh Burrata, with Cracked Black Pepper with Rosemary Fascia
Then we tried the most delicious Fresh Burrata that is flown in from Italy and is only available Thursday through Saturday. This is the best one we have had, with Olio veered, cracked black pepper with rosemary fascia. Also, we tasted the Bluefin
Tuna Belly Trio, with Swiss chard crostata, bacon, fontina and roasted
tomato vinaigrette. Another dish that I would certainly try it again.
Black Truffle and Italian Mozzarella Pizza
Ah, if you love truffles, than you should not miss
the Black Truffle from
le Marche and Italian Mozzarella pizza,
thin crust with the most
delicious truffles on top, that by itself, is already a meal.
Assorted Cheese and Salumi Platter
Well, this is a salumi and cheese bar, so how can we miss it? Then, we got a special selection that was chosen by our great server that included the 6 year Parmesan cheese from Seattle, the most amazing goat cheese Fleur Verte from France, the Pierce Point from California, the salumi was out of this world: the Hot Sopressata
and the Fegateli. I would say that the quality of their cheeses and salumi,
truly represents the best of the Marche region and I guarantee
that you will not be disappointed. It is out of this world.
I was truly in heaven, it could not be better. Charmed by our gracious host, we next moved to a pasta course, where we sampled the unique Short Rib Raviolo, with
citrus browned butter sauce, a luscious dish of al dente homemade Raviolo tossed with a creamy browned butter sauce. Each component of the dish was cooked to perfection,
the thick, textured sauce was decadently velvety, the rib tender and
soft, and the buttery juicy with a slight bite. As a whole, the dish offered the
perfect ratio of pasta to accompaniments, and the dish resonated with a
harmonious balance of ingredients. We twirled each spoonful
slowly, thoroughly enjoying each bite.
Short Rib Raviolo
Another dish that we were truly impressed was the Potato Gnocchi, with oxtail
ragu. you will be in heaven when trying this dish, and the gnocchi was so light,
that you can’t tell you are eating, but you are enjoying every single bite.
We then sampled the most intriguing entrées on the menu. For my main course, we were drawn to what seemed to be Cube’s two specialties, seafood and veal. The menu’s generous selection includes enticing dishes such as Braised Osso buco,
Seared Duck Breast, Truffled ½ Chicken, etc. However, this evening we decided
to try two amazing dishes: the Balsamic Glazed Hanger Steak, with creamy
parmesan polenta & white truffle oil. We found every bite refreshing and
certainly one of the best meats we have ever tasted, in presentation
and taste. And mine was the Olive Oil poached Tuna Loin.
Seared Tuna with Salsa Verde, Flageolet Beans & Braised Swiss Chard
The Tuna was inspired by a traditional preparation of the fish; with Meyer lemon
salsa verde, flageolet beans & braised Swiss chard. The sauce, woodsy and buttery,
seemed a completely intuitive way to transform an otherwise wholesome Tuna into
a decadent meal. It was easy to see how, in a country surrounded by water,
Italy’s cuisine had evolved to so expertly celebrate the bounty of the sea.
Balsamic Glazed Hanger Steak
The Balsamic Glazed Hanger Steak offered an equally rich celebration of traditional preparation. The meat itself was the tenderest meat we had sampled all meal, and
the tart sauce cut perfectly against each rich, bite. In the mouth, a full taste
burst forth that was at once sweet, sour, and savory, reminding us
we should eat the Hanger Steak more frequently.
Dark Valhorona Chocolate Fudge Cake
By the time dessert came, we were more than sated by the richness of our meal. We were intrigued enough to order the Date Pudim and the house-made Dark Valhorona Chocolate Fudge cake although when the generously portioned dishes arrived
we managed not more than a few bites. It’s difficult to follow such a succulent
meal with equally succulent desserts, and I must admit we found
the food to outperform the after-dinner sweets.
Dessert Port Wine
Polishing off the last sips of our after dinner coffee,
strong and dark, it was perhaps a perfect cup. We rose
from our table and walked out the door almost reluctantly,
not wanting to leave this gracious, hospitable world. As our friendly
waived to us one last time from her seat near the door, we smiled.
beginning to end, we found our meal thoroughly filled with old-world
and generous hospitality, providing an almost timeless dining experience.
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at www.cubemarketplace.com
Articles By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
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