6011 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221 | (716) 633-8432
Cuginos Italian restaurant is an elegant spot on Main Street in Williamsville. We’ve been meaning to get in there since their opening last spring. Had I known what waited inside I’d have made it sooner.
Cugino’s serves modern northern Italian cuisine. Northern would suggest polenta and risotto in addition to pasta, more butter and cheese and perhaps less olive oil. Cugino’s makes their pasta in house.
The doors, front or back, enter into the bar area and the hostess station. The bar area is a medium size, nicely outfitted with the standard bottles and two flat screens above. The decor is rich with white table cloths, beautiful dark oak trimmed chairs, and stately carpet. More upscale and dressy than many restaurants today.
It was fairly quiet on a weeknight but still enough crowd to add a little background. Some of the customers opted for the side patio, which seats roughly 20, but the dining room was so nice we decided to stay inside. The surrounds, decor and clientele would suggest that they generally receive a mature crowd.
We made a stop down the street for cocktails before coming, but that didn’t slow us down much. We ordered a bottle of red as they brought a basket of Italian bread with a really good, spicy red sauce dip. The wine list is good but not overly extensive. We ended up with a bottle of Rodney Strong Cabernet for $40.
Our waiter told us the star of the show at Cugino’s is the menu and he was right. It offers an impressive array of very creative and unique dishes.
For appetizers we tried.
- Calamari Fritti – hot cherry peppers, Pecorino Romano, fresh herbs, pomodoro – $10
- A salad special with fresh tomatoes, burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) with greens and a drizzle of balsamic. (split for 2)- $11.
- Caesar – baby romaine hearts, toasted focaccia crouton, Caesar dressing, white anchovies, Pecorino Romano -$9
The calamari was very good, lightly floured and delicate. The peppers were a mix of hot and mild, adding a little game of Russian roulette with heat. The salads were nice and fresh, dressed appropriately and the burrata was deliciously smooth and creamy.
For entrees we ordered:
- Rigatoni Vitello– red wine braised veal, wild mushrooms, roasted carrots, arugula, braising reduction $21
- Veal Romana – stuffed veal top round, prosciutto di Parma, spinach, smoked mozzarella, herb whipped potatoes, Marsala pan sauce $25
- Pork Shank Osso Buco – mascarpone polenta, roasted artichokes, cippolini, horseradish gremolata $23
- Salmon Special – roasted served with a pomegranate sauce and balsamic reduction, marscapone polenta and roasted veggies $27
Everything was excellent and each of us was very happy with what we ordered. In every instance Cugino’s seems to bring a little something special to each dish. The roasted artichokes, cippolini onions, and a horseradish gremolata turned what might have been an ordinary pork shank into an outstanding dish.
The house made rigatoni was made into a tasty bit size and wonderful with veal and wild mushroom combination. The salmon was perfectly roasted and the sauce combination worked nicely with the flavor.
As good as the others were I’d say the Veal Romana was the winner by a nose- tender, juicy with a great depth of flavors. It is the type of intricate dish that you do not see on many menus.
Dishes to return for:
- Orecchiette alla Norma – grilled eggplant, roasted tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, pesto Genovese- $17
- Bucatini Carbonara – lobster, smoked Proscuitto, vine tomatoes, sweet peas, Parmigiano Reggiano, egg yolk, cream – $24
- Fettuccini Mare e Monte – tiger shrimp, fennel sausage, roasted onions, red bell pepper, saffron cream, anchovy crumbs- $23
- Garganelli Pollo – grilled chicken, roasted squash, charred tomatoes, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, lemon zest $18
- Seafood Risotto Livoronese– lobster tail, scallops, littleneck clams, tiger shrimp, spicy tomato risotto, green olives, capers – $29
- Chicken Firenze – chicken cutlets, roasted red peppers, baby spinach, soppresata, Parmigiano Reggiano, herb roasted potatoes, lemon aioli – $22
I was impressed with the menu at Cugino’s and equally impressed with their ability to deliver on the promise. They are open for lunch weekdays and weekends and 7 days a week for dinner. No excuse not to stop and check it out.
6011 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221