Restaurant review: Lucca

On Sunday night Alli and I celebrated our monthly date night at Lucca, an Italian restaurant in the North End. We had a fantastic time, primarily because of their amazing service.

It started at the curb. We were about to valet the car, but the manager came out to park it for us. This is on a busy summer evening on Hanover Street. If you’re a Bostonian, you appreciate how preposterously unusual this is. If you’re not a Bostonian, well, imagine 😉 Or ask in a comment.

We were seated promptly at a street-front window table, just like I requested when making the reservation. Then the manager came by again to give me the key to the car, saying he found a spot out front and was happy to save us the valet money. Wow!

The food was delicious. We each got a smallish pasta dish as an appetizer, and shared a steak and risotto entree later. My pasta was delicious: gnocchi al cinghiale, one of my favorites. Cinghiale is wild boar, which they marinade and braise for two days (!). It’s tender and perfectly matches the gnocchi, olive oil, and cheese. Wow.

Another reason we went to the restaurant is their great wine list, a Wine Spectator award winner for several years running now. As you might expect given the context, the focus is on Italian wines, and reds at that. The best area of the list, again as expected, is the Barolo and Barbaresco selection. Lots of Gaja options, although those are wicked expensive.

It was a hard choice, but we ended up with a 2003 Sottimano Barbaresco from the Curra vineyard. It’s just a tid on the young side, but otherwise a fantastic match to the food. Just a delicious wine, and given how good I think it’s going to be in 2-5 years, the current retail value is great.

Service was great throughout. Overall, I really liked Lucca, and you should check it out.