Lucca is a restaurant off the beaten path that I have been wanting to try for a while. However, due to the ‘off the beaten path’ part, I seem to forget about it. My cousin Billy from New York is coming in town soon and I made him this awesome itinerary with all the best restaurants on it. I took the itinerary to Charleston’s finest Mickey Bakst (general manager of the Charleston Grill restaurant) and asked him his 2 cents. His response, “Where the heck is Lucca on this list?” Ohhhhh yea. So on Monday I was fortunate enough to experience the restaurant AND for their famous Monday Family Style Supper. FSS consists of a four course meal with anti-pasta dishes first, then a pasta dish, then a meat, and a dessert for the final. My family consisted of Kingslea, Erin, Callee, Devin, and Brendan.
The restaurant is very cute and more on the small side. I felt like we were dinning in someone’s house and had the best seats right next to the kitchen. Our server Jonathan was very attentive and knowledgable on all of the Italian dishes and their names. I on the other hand not being Italian, in case you didn’t know, will be butchering the names of these dishes. Unfortunately, Family Style Supper is not listed in detail on their menu so I will be writing from memory.
We started off by ordering a bottle of Montepulciano and now just to get you in the mood say it out loud with an Italian accent- that’s what I’m talking about! It was big, red, bold, and delicious. Jonathan then brought us out bread and olive oil and before I knew it dishes were coming from every direction. The first dish was brussel sprouts and they were amazing. They were cooked perfectly with a light crunch to them, but completely soft on the inside. At first I couldn’t tell what the mouth-watering sauce was that kept me going back for more and after discussing with the table we decided it was garlic. Garlic is key. Mary- you would die.
The next dish was a large caesar salad with huge pieces of parmesan cheese and a cous-cous dish-SO GOOD THEY NAMED IT TWICE. I unfortunately forgot to get a pic of the salad, but just trust me it was delicious. The cous-cous had a tangy taste to it and certainly had some kind of vinaigrette dressing mixed in with peppers, baby scallops, mushrooms, and some other veggies. My mouth also had a little heat going on as I was eating this which I am such a baby when it comes to heat/spiciness, but I kept going!
The last dish from the anti-pastas was a pork belly dish. Now, I’m not going to waste time writing about pork belly because at this point I know yall know. However, this dish was very different from all other pork bellies I have had. It almost looked like strips of bacon and it had arugula over it and then small pieces of crispy cinnamon sugar sprinkled all over the dish. There were also gold raisins mixed in the dish…and now I’ve seemed to make my mouth water all over again just writing about it.
Now for the pasta! I was super excited for this dish because this is what Lucca is known for, their homemade pastas. Jonathan brought out a beautiful colored penne pasta dish. To my dissatisfaction though it was alright. It definitely needed to be cooked another 2 minutes because it was muy al dente! The dish was still very good, but it seems like such a simple thing to make correct when that is what you specialize in. The sauce was wonderful though with crumbled up beef? I think in a tomato sauce. It was very creamy and the meat melted in your mouth…they cooked that down soft! I really wish I could remember all these Italian words for yall because I’m not doing the chef justice, bear* with me.
The next dish was the meat dish! To be honest, I was expecting dessert next. I was so full and I had not realized we still had a way to go! I should have paced myself better because this chicken was SLAP YO GRANDMA GOOD! It was so tender with golden skin that dissolved in your mouth and complimented each other perfectly. The chicken was on top of creamy polenta with chopped grape tomatoes and halved red grapes which I found surprisingly to be a great addition. This dish really was a masterpiece of great food.
AND after all that….I can always leave room for dessert. Jake maybe I get this from you? Dessert was individual chocolate mousse dishes with toasted almonds sprinkled on top and olive oil. WOW. This was exactly what I needed to finish off dinner because number 1. it was chocolate and number 2 it was light enough to indulge completely and be okay after.
This dining experience is certainly something I would recommend and glad to say I have now done Monday Family Style at Lucca. There’s something about just having food brought to you at a table and not knowing what you are going to get. It really did feel very homie and like we were in an Italian kitchen anxiously awaiting for what was next. Dad- this would be right up your alley!
Rachel- Whenever you are ready to knock it off your list I am totally down to go back and try things off their actually menu because it looks ridiculous!
Until next time crock-o-holics, thanks!