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"I want the lasagna!" Justin quickly called dibs. Truth is, we all wanted that lasagna. Defeated, we turned our attention to the other attractive selections.
For appetizers, we chose the tender grilled octopus ($13), served alongside fresh arugula in delicious citrus-lemon-garlic oil, and sumptuous veal meatballs ($8) capped with velvety tomato sauce.
We rounded out that celebrated lasagna with picks from both the daily specials and the standard menu. Smoked salmon ravioli ($18) was a creative alternative to standard cheese-filled ravioli. Smoky fish contrasted against smooth marinara flecked with garlic and chiffonades of basil for an intriguing taste. Another special showcased the fresh catch of the day: grouper with clams and mussels ($30). The flaky fillet was lightly seasoned and seared, moistened with a delicate broth and decorated with juicy shellfish. Shrimp Toscana ($26) was exceptional, with fist-sized prawns seared and deglazed with grappa, mushroom cream sauce, creamy risotto, and a side of seasonal veggies.
By the time we selected entrées, the front door was crowded, with a family and a few couples patiently awaiting a table. They seemed unbothered, though, thanks to complimentary flutes of champagne Vince brought them.
During my conversation with Vince postvisit, he informed me that they work closely with local suppliers to create the daily specials. "We buy minimal amounts; when we run out, we run out," he explained.
Just past 9 p.m., the small dining room began to quiet and empty. Vince remained unflustered throughout the night. He made a joke when Brent dropped a wineglass, and because it was our first visit, he said, he bestowed upon us three complimentary decadent desserts: pistachio gelato, homemade tiramisu, and chocolate panna cotta. All three were excellent, but you could tell from the clank of four spoons over the panna cotta that it was the table favorite. The Italian pudding was chilled and served daintily in a martini glass, delivering a powerful punch of chocolate and a mind-numbingly silky texture. Prozac for the taste buds.
Weeks have passed since I went to Lucca, and I've recommended it to colleagues and friends, but I haven't returned for a meal nor for cocktails with girlfriends. It's great for a romantic dinner date or family supper. On service and food, Lucca would easily make it into my own Top Ten. But if I'm going to drop a Benjamin or two on a meal, restaurants in my top five get priority in the dining rotation. Why? Lucca is a little too neutral. What could help? A pop of color, some music... and, well, energy. Add some of that and I'll be back in a flash — I'll even bring the gals.
LOVE this restaurant...I would agree that the dining experience might be a bit neutral but I liked that about Lucca. Sometimes the music, the color, etc distracts from the real reason you are there...the food. I look forward to going there everytime. It's a must for when my friends come to town.
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We love the food at Lucca as well as the owners and staff! We go there as often as we can and have always been extremely satisfied with our experience! Highly recommended!!! Joao & Heidi Neto
LUCCA is so good that you can get a $25 give certificate for only $10 on restaurant.com! Let's see, why would you review a restaurant in a part of town where you're more likely to be crushed by tumbleweed this time of year than find a person in this restaurant? Hmmm...
It only takes 3 day to make lasagna if you don't know what you're doing. My family recipe beats theirs and you make it and eat it the same day.
I had a great meal there the other night and there was music playing....thought they only had beer and wine...?
Great, the local food experts at New Times are using Tripadvisor to find restaurants. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?
i make my lasagna the same day too and its awsome i make my own sauce too, it goes in my lasagna w/ leftover home made meatballs sliced between the layers
Doesn't sound that ridiculous actually, I'd be curious to know about what places a website with a huge following like Tripadvisor has as their top 10 restaurants.
Because as soon as you saw Gilbert's on the list anyone with any local knowledge immediately knows that its not a credible list. How does Gilbert's win a "best burger" award? They go on facebook and encourage people to vote for them. Same is true for Tripadvisor. It has nothing to do with how good or bad a place is.