• The experience: Over the past few months, my friends have been spouting off about some place in Palm Beach called "Cucina." So much so that I was just few more mentions away from pitching a Jan Brady-style, foot-stomping, "Cucina, Cucina, CUCINA!" exit, stage left.
I decided to take a jaunt over the north bridge and take a gander at what the fuss was all about.
Cucina dell' arte is one of the fine eateries along Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach. And, like many places in the area, after 10-ish, it transforms finto a hopping night spot -- complete with a wide array of young Palm Beach elite and all the eager yappy yuppy puppies who follow these callow glitterati around like ankle-nippers vying for a little morsel of attention.
• The space: Warm, earth-tone tile floors, wood and brick façade walls, an airy patio space and very little pretension is exactly what Cucina is all about. But, in a place like this, filled to capacity with the beautifully clueless hordes of the cosmetically enhanced, the surroundings melt into seeming nothingness. Who wants -- or needs -- to look at the beautiful artwork on the walls when confronted with some of the most dazzling beauties I've seen since South Beach? Go to a gallery for pretty pictures. Cucina is all about living art.
It's also about meeting people and mingling. (Also, groping. I was groped a lot. One Thursday night, I felt like I was being confused with a ripe melon at Publix.)
• The music: Top 40, mainly a blend of hip-hop, oldies, disco, rap, jazz -- pretty much anything that strikes the DJ's fancy. The music can be very loud or extremely loud, it depends on the "like" level -- as in "Does the DJ -- usually Nick, the owner -- like it or love it?"
• The drinks: Full bar. Bring cash. Nuff said.
• What to wear: This is Palm Beach, baby, so dress up a bit, could ya? It's all about names, dahling! Gucci, Lagerfeld, Givenchy! If you can't afford the real thing, you know where to go: Marshalls, Marshalls, MARSHALLS!
• What's cool: The ultra-chic crowd is just ripe eye candy for the picking.
• What's trifling: It gets way too crowded after midnight. Wear something fabulous, yes, but it'd better be permanent press.
Reviewed by Michael Alicea Feb. 10, 2006
updated by PBJTechSolutions.com