Cucina Twist

By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  January 21, 2009

Baiba was well pleased with her shrimp and pasta ($16): sautûed shrimp with broccoli, diced tomatoes, Bermuda onion, and red peppers tossed with penne in a garlic cream sauce. Debbie chose a Cucina special that night: chicken and sweet Italian sausage ($16) with red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichokes, also with penne. The pasta portions at Cucina are typically Rhode Island Italian-American: enough for three people or three meals, and tasty dishes at that.

I was in the mood for the heft of a puttanesca sauce, even over scrod ($16). It's good testimony for Cucina's kitchen that, given my pickiness about fish dishes, especially ones with tomato-based sauces, this one completely satisfied me. The balance of garlic, onions, olives, capers, anchovies, and plum tomatoes worked nicely, and the fish was delicate and sweet. I also opted for the potatoes and broccoli.

Desserts are all house-made: cheesecake with a chocolate-cookie crust, brownies with ice cream, a thick chocolate cake with walnuts and a cream-cheese filling, chocolate chip or pistachio cannoli and, the piece de resistance, tiramisu ($6). We got the latter to share, and it was deliciously light: layers of espresso-and-rum soaked ladyfingers with layers of whipped mascarpone, topped by a thick dusting of cocoa.

So, with our main dining disappointment being the sirloins, we were once again impressed that Cucina Twist could turn out the high volume of food that they do and keep the quality up and the prices down. Perhaps Chef Gallagher should keep a better eye on the steaks, and we'll spread the word about the pastas.

Johnette Rodriguez can be reached

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