Archived Stories

Tucos Ñ DavisÕ best getaway

By October 3, 2010

Enterprise columnist

Like any self-respecting Davis skeptic, IÕve tried to find something wrong with Tucos Wine Market and Restaurant for years. But try as I might, I always come up short for one simple reason: I love everything about Tucos Ñ the perfect escape from the daily grind.

DavisÕ best getaway takes residence at 130 G St., in a continental-style nook near the train depot. While dining, itÕs not uncommon for a train to pass by, and for the imagination to take over.

In my case, itÕs more of a delusion.

IÕm dressed in Chanel, finishing my afternoon Viognier (OK, that part is true), and signaling a porter who waits nearby with my Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. Behind Prada sunglasses, I will discretely travel through Europe.

Only two things are able to bring me back to reality: 1) a dining partner with someplace to go; or 2) when seated outside, the appearance of the occasional catatonic Davis driver.

(HereÕs a thought: Instead of implementing reverse angled parking, why doesnÕt the City Council simply put defective drivers on the train?)

Now for the food. As you can tell, my imagination is pretty active, but it canÕt compare with the mind behind the food. Owner Pru Mendez has gotten this right from day one.

Originally, the menu was a balanced offering of wine accompaniments and a few main dishes. Today, the menu is practically bursting at the seams É or are those my seams É?

No matter, itÕs fantastic! Mendez makes ordering somewhat a SophieÕs choice.

Last visit, I forced myself to stray from my usual free-range chicken tacos with bacon, and collard greens. As an alternative, I chose three dishes: Tobiko Caviar with buckwheat blinis, crme fraiche, sieved eggs, and sweet onion, followed by shredded beef arepas. Rounding out my gourmet bender was the bread salad with a poached egg, bacon, garlic croutons, and citrus dressing.

See? I can make decisions.

Because TucosÕ food begs to be shared, (or stolen by a swift fork), a word to the wise is in order. If stealth fails, whatever you do, donÕt drop any in the wine.

Oh, the beautiful wineÉ

No matter how often you go, thereÕs always something new and interesting to try. Wines are brought in from around the world, and if youÕd like a tasting trip, or you canÕt commit to just one style, there are several flights to choose from.

Many restaurants never take risks with their wine lists, but at Tucos, motivating and truly satisfying palates are a priority.

Come to think of it, there is something I donÕt like about Tucos: Despite their generous pours, my glass is always half-empty.

And thereÕs nothing Tucos should do about that, lest my excursion takes me too far.

Ñ Heidy Kellison lives and shops in Davis. Her column appears monthly. Reach her at [email protected]

Heidy Kellison

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