This week, Gary, Graham and Charlie took me out to a Mother’s Day dinner at Lucca in the North End. I was a little late making reservations and it was surprisingly difficult to find a table at 6:30. I had read a good review for Lucca, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try.
Let me just interrupt with a word about Mother’s Day. If you are a Mom or have a Mom, I hope you enjoyed the day. Mine was pretty good especially in comparison to last year. Last year, our Portuguese Water Dog named Rosie had a really upset stomach. She has a sensitive stomach and over the past five years, she has done some serious damage to the sisal rug in our dining room. For Mother’s Day, I wanted to replace the rug and had asked the nice man at the rug store to bring over four different oriental rugs to try. They were unrolled and laying all over the dining room floor. Right before I went to bed on the night before Mother’s Day, I said to my family…”Make sure you leave the door to the dining room closed tonight everyone!! Rosie is sick! Goodnight! I love you!! ” Anyway, you can pretty much guess where this is going. Someone left the door open and in the morning… well, you guessed it. So anyway, that didn’t happen this year; it was a good day!
Back to Lucca… Lucca is located on the first block of Hanover Street and is a little more upscale than some of the smaller more intimate North End trattorias. There is a large bar and it feels like a dressier city restaurant. It is busy and bustling early on a Saturday night, the food is good and the service was very good. They have won many awards for their wine list. Lucca is also a little more expensive than most of the restaurants that I have tried. We started with Ceasar Salads and Cozze – which is Prince Edward Island Mussels steamed in a seafood broth with Sambuca, chorizo, fennel and cherry peppers. Chorizo is a spicy Spanish sausage that gives the mussels a lot of flavor. I really like this version of steamed mussels. I had the Lobster Tagliatelle which is black pepper tagliatelle pasta tossed with large pieces of lobster, porcini mushrooms, culatello and lemon oregano cream. It is absolutely delicious and extremely rich. Graham ordered the house made pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter-cider broth with bitter greens, carmelized onions and toasted pine nuts finished with crumbled gorgonzola. This, he tells me, is really delicious and it was gone before I could try it! Gary had the Bolognese which I did not like at all. This is also papparadelle pasta with a traditional sauce of ground veal, pancetta, and red wine topped with shaved ricotta salata and basil. Sounds good, but it wasn’t. The pasta seemed too dense and stuck together and the ground veal is heavy and has a slightly bitter taste. Charlie had the Bistecca- grilled beef tenderloin over mashed potatoes with broccoli rabe and cipollini onions finished with a cipollini onion and red wine demi-glace. Charlie asked them to hold the onions, so it was a little bland, but the tenderloin was perfectly cooked.
So, the reviews were mixed. Two of the pastas were terrific and one was mediocre. The tenderloin was fine, and the appetizers were very good. This is a pricey spot, so while I really enjoyed my meal, I am a not thoroughly convinced. This is another one that I would love to try again, but I am going to have to save up first! Check out their website at www.luccaboston.com.. Also, Lucca has a sister restaurant in the Back Bay. Has anyone tried it?
Later this week, I will be telling you a little bit about Sea Street Soups– some absolutely fabulous soups made fresh on a weekly basis here on the North Shore and then delivered to your door or a nearby drop spot!!!
Also, Lauren returns to her assistant blogging spot next week if she can make it through all the pesky ash from that unpronounceable volcano in Iceland! Can’t wait!