In the Mood: Z Cucina di Spirito

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Happy Ending

She likes ooey and gooey chocolate richness. He prefers something fruiter, with more restraint. Well, Valentine's Day is not the time to choose sides, it's the time to join forces. So head to a place where you can indulge in both, where two shared yin-and-yang desserts will convert his and hers into ours.

With its beautiful block of warm Chocolate Bread Pudding and its Tart Cherry Crostada, Z Cucina is a great place to do just that. Plus, Z's suave setting - big windows onto Grandview Avenue, jazzy tunes and cream-colored sheets playing off giant overhead pillows - is ideal for a relaxed double dose of sweetness.

And, oh that bread pudding. It's like a giant brownie that's both stout and crusty, soft and giving. More rich than sweet, it's a tower of texturally shifting tufts of compressed bread drenched in dark chocolate. The impressive hunk rests atop a shimmering pool of brightening vanilla creme anglaise drizzled with house-made caramel. Whoa.

And whoa again to that cherry crostada. Sort of a round little light and airy Italian-style cheesecake made with ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, it has a chocolate wheel jutting out that thematically links it to the bread pudding.

The path to the crostada's soft, creamy and perfectly sweetened heart - which is stained Valentine red by luscious concentrated cherries - is through a tall and stiff pie-like crust that must be pleasantly, if assiduously, forked through.

Consider that a deliciously metaphorical illustration of becoming someone's special Valentine.

Z Cucina di Spirito

1368 Grandview Ave., Grandview