In a sign of the still-changing times Downtown, Financial District stalwart Cucina Rustica has gone under the knife for a complete redo, even pulling the signage off the front. And when it re-emerges, expect more than just some updated flatware.
Pushed right into the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa, the space-formerly-known-as-Cucina-Rustica is on some prime real estate, what with the massive skyscrapers going in across the street and the incoming influx of Korean Air employees. And so the plan is to modernize, with ownership bringing on longtime front of house specialist Tyler Dow, who most recently spent his time running his shoes ragged at Faith & Flower.
They’ve also added chef Gavin Mills, who previously helped open Wood & Vine in Hollywood before making a landing as chef de cuisine at Tavern in Brentwood. The plan is for Mills to update the menu entirely, while keeping the Italian feel that regulars have come to know well. Look for fresh pastas, some Mediterranean-influenced fish and chops, and a downstairs charcuterie program (for which Mills is known).
Speaking of which: Cucina Rustica is going to be a two-level affair, with classier tables and long banquettes up top and a whiskey-focused cocktail bar below. Eventually the plan is to even open up a patio along Figueroa and blow a few more windows into the thick-walled space to brighten the place up.
Management says that for the moment at least, there are no plans to close the near 150-seat Cucina Rustica during the transition. Instead they’ll be handling the work over the next few months and operating without a true name, only shuttering for a couple weeks around the turn of the new year in order to make the final construction push inside.
If you want to check out the place now, Mills and Dow are already on site and the place is currently in the middle of some work (they’ve pulled up that awful carpet, for one). As for the current menu, it’s in flux, will Mills adding more finishing touches all the time.