Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where to Eat: The Wave Smooth Jazz Sunday Brunch @ I. Cugini (CLOSED)

Update: As of June 2011, I. Cugini has closed its doors. :(

They saunter in with their summer suits, sundresses and linen pants. Many arrive in pairs, but most travel in groups of family and friends, often with boisterous little ones tagging along. They walk through the decadent dining area, their eyes wandering over the sturdy columns and grandiose marble finishes and angelic paintings. Intently watching, the band members grin easily – just as easily as they spew out the contagious R&B jazz that richly vibrates throughout the room. As the groups head to their respective tables, it’s apparent that while all of what they’ve just soaked in is fine and dandy, their eyes hungrily search for more. Their eyes greedily fixate on the feast of fresh seafood, assorted salads, carved meats and other breakfast and lunch delights so eloquently displayed before them. You can tell they've been waiting for this moment - the moment of utter self-indulgence for the next couple - or four or five - hours.

I’ll unashamedly admit that I’m a part of that group of customers who repeatedly flocks to Santa Monica’s I. Cugini (pronounced EE-coo-Gee-NEE) for the restaurant's spectacular Sunday Jazz Brunch. I personally savor this classy affair for its over-the-top decadence. It's the Bentley of brunches, sitting on prime real estate that pompously overlooks the Santa Monica Pier and the beach. With made-to-order pastas and even its own dessert room (pictured to the right, the bottom photo), it quickly shuts down any other buffet on the Westside. The brunch also features a live broadcast from 94.7 the Wave, and also Jazz bands who stop by to play covers and original pieces.

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, so expect to pay generously. Brunch costs about $55 per person, but do I think it’s worth it? Absolutely, and especially if you have relatives or friends visiting the Los Angeles area that you want to impress. The top-notch dining, unlimited champagne and mimosas, great music and scenic view will have you contently sitting in I. Cugini for hours. Hey, I know I tend to spend an average of three hours there. Maybe I'll see you the next time!

For more information:
I. Cugini

1501 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 451-4595

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