On the theory that everyone’s a critic, we asked you, our readers, to try your hand at writing a restaurant review. Reader Lynne Campanale took the challenge. Here’s what she had to say about Tucos Wine Market & Cafe:
Tucked away in a quiet corner of downtown Davis, Tucos Wine Market & Cafe is a neighborhood gem, reminiscent of an Italian trattoria, unpretentious and easygoing, serving up simple dishes with exquisite seasonal ingredients and a huge dose of originality.
I confess: I have a weakness for restaurants that offer small plates. Tapas, or mix-and-match appetizers, are some of my favorite fare. At Tucos, you’ll find a selection of small plates, larger plates and special plates, in addition to imaginative soups, salads and heavier entres. To me, that translates to pure heaven. But heaven was only the beginning.
On a recent hot evening, I’m not sure which was more refreshing: the taste sensation of the cucumber snow with freshly shucked oyster or the surprise of the deft preparation. What a joy to find such creative pairing: the ingenious green fluff of icy cucumber and a pristine Sweetwater oyster, shown to artistic and culinary advantage by the white dollop of perfectly tart sauce. The pungent combination of elements lingered on my tongue with a decidedly sensual satisfaction.
I could have stopped there and happily contemplated that sublime morsel (and, to be honest, it was only a morsel, but I value quality over quantity). But my dining companion and I couldn’t resist the temptation of a beet salad (a beautiful array of marinated pink, red and white beet wedges on a bed of marinated onion slivers, topped with shavings of Parmesan cheese); the Mount Tam cheese plate (which, depending on the season, might arrive with roasted almonds and halved Bing cherries); and an exquisite larger plate of avocado and Florida white shrimp ravioli with avocado-lemon cream sauce, which consisted of three delightfully light, housemade pasta rounds encasing large mounds of flavorful filling. Elegantly coddled in a velvety green sauce, each one offered a languid, tongue-pleasing texture with the satiny finish of the sauce that was embarrassingly habit-forming.
The Valrhona chocolate cream puffs were a dazzling finish: the most perfectly executed, crisp cream puffs (profiteroles to the food snob) I’ve ever encountered. Their delicate crunch withstood the rich chocolate filling and the vanilla cream sauce to the last sinful bite.
Great food, attentive service. It’s pure culinary heaven.
130 G St., Davis; (530) 757-6600
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