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Cugino's Pleases the Palate

From the bread and pasta to the dessert, our reviewer enjoyed her experience at the Italian restaurant.

From savory to sweet, serves up some delectable dishes.

As with most Italian restaurants in the area, vegetarians are limited to manicotti, fettucini or pasta con broccoli when they crave pasta at Cugino's. The menu also includes appetizers, salads, pizzas and desserts that are vegetarian-friendly.

The meal started with fresh, warm sesame seed-topped bread that was perfectly light (and complimentary).

As I had my eye on pasta, I opted for the cannelloni sampler ($13.99) and chose three manicotti (as opposed to beef or chicken cannelloni) for my dinner.

The manicotti shells were cooked perfectly, and the cheese filling on the inside was done just right as well. It wasn't runny (undercooked) or gritty (overcooked).

The manicotti was topped with a combination of Cugino's red sauce and white sauce. The acidity of the tomatoey red cut the richness of the creamy white, leaving just a tinge of a sweet aftertaste.

My guest ordered a 12-inch tomato pizza ($10.98) but wound up getting a 14-inch (at no extra charge) due to an error in the kitchen.

Her pizza came with the same perfect tomato sauce I had with my manicotti and creamy provel cheese. I tried a square of the thin-crust pizza, which was delicious but was a tad overwrought with grease, even after my friend blotted it a little.

After our savory suppers, we decided to top off our meals with some sweet treats.

My guest opted for a slice of cheesecake ($4.50, topped with strawberries), while I indulged with a slice of chocolate layer cake ($4.50).

The cake was definitely indulgent, with fudge-like layers of frosting in between the layers of light, fluffy cake. I enjoy chocolate just as much as the next person, but it was almost a little too rich for my taste.

My guest enjoyed her cheesecake, so I might go for that the next time I head to Cugino's.

Candace Jarrett October 03, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I know this is a vegetarian critique, but I must say that they have great wings!
Kevin October 05, 2011 at 11:31 AM
What I cannot understand is if the vegetarian or vegan fare is so popular and sought out, then why don't we see more vegan or vegetarian restaurants other than in the Central West End? I don't permit a vegetarian to critique a restaurant that serves 90% meat dishes. It would be like me critiquing a vegetarian restaurant by giving it a C- or a D rating because their menu lacks items with meat. What would I be limited to in a vegetarian restaurant? Tofu and soy burgers? If vegetarians eat to be healthy, don't order the cheesecake or the chocolate cake.
Rick Dorsey August 12, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Tonight (8/11/12) was my worst dining experience in years. I ordered an appetizer, whcih didn't come. I ordered a glass of wine, which didn't come. My server was so non-existent that I though I would have to look for her on a milk carton. Never again!

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