Cuca’s has good food and mediocre service


Cuca’s Mexican Restaurant in Tower District, serves classic mexican dishes such as their two item combo plate with one shredded beef taco, one shredded beef quesadilla, and refried beans. Photographed Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

Story By: Lauren Baker, Art Director

Cuca’s Restaurant, located in the far eastern part of the Tower District, is home to delicious Mexican cuisine. Located on Olive across the street from the Dollar Tree, it’s one of only two local eateries in the area that specializes in Mexican cuisine.

The establishment itself is small and quaint; the self-seated tables range in size and color, including booths and regular tables. Each table has a different colored shawl and a culture-friendly paper flower arrangement, unique to every table.

If you frequent Mexican restaurants, the menu won’t differ from what you’d expect it to feature. They provide the usual soups such as albondigas (meatball soup) or cocido (pork stew), in addition to samplers and combination plates.

After much indecisiveness on my part, I went with a classic two-item combination plate. I chose to order a taco and quesadilla, both with shredded beef.

Rice and refried beans came with the order, though you could opt for boiled beans instead of refried if you want a classic Mexican dining experience.

Sometimes a classic can’t serve you wrong, and this is certainly true of the combination plate I ordered at Cuca’s. The rice and beans were excellently done. The shredded beef in the taco was well seasoned and prepared, clearly stewed for long hours in bell peppers and onions. However, the moisture in the meat caused the bottom of the quesadilla to be soggy where the top part was crispy.

The uneven texture in that regard wasn’t a huge concern, but I would’ve preferred consistency, or at least a description in the menu that would have told told me the shredded beef would be sopping wet.

The service itself wasn’t dazzling, but it was tolerable. It took a good 10 minutes for the waitress to notice that we had arrived, let alone tell us we could seat ourselves. A sign would’ve been sufficient for this purpose as well.

Once we seated ourselves, it took about another 10-15 minutes just to be served water.

That being said, I’m not entirely confident we would’ve had our order taken sooner had we been any less choosy over what to order. The food itself arrived within 25-30 minutes and looked great, but the waitress only checked on us about twice, and brought the check before we were even halfway finished with our meal.

I like to think the ritual of bringing the check to the table is a strictly post-meal activity, but this was not the case. It made our meal feel rushed, like we were taking up valuable space in an otherwise vacant restaurant.

While the food was excellent, one has to weigh the pros and cons between which is more significant in terms of choosing where to eat: good service, or good food? In the case of Cuca’s Restaurant, you can bet your money on the food.