Ristorante Lucano is tucked into a non-descript strip mall near a dry cleaners and a Subway, so it's easy to forget it's there--which is why it was nice when friends suggested that's where we meet for dinner. We grabbed a table tucked away in a corner and prepared for a night of yummy Italian food and great conversation; we were not disappointed!
My husband started with crab cakes, a special that evening, ... and finished with them. I was so caught up in chatting that I never asked for a bite and somehow he never offered. Hmm ... So, take that as an assessment of how good they were! His entree was the Pappardelle Alla Montanara, the traditional wide pasta tossed with sausage, mushrooms, eggplant and tomatoes in a semi-creamy sauce. Both the pasta and the sausage are made at the restaurant, and the dish was comfort food at its finest! The eggplant and mushrooms really soaked up the richness of the sauce, which rippled along the ribbony pasta.
I went lighter, starting with a simple green salad--bright and crisp because I wanted to go thick and heavy with my entree: Bucatini All'amatriciana. I love bucatini, the fat and round noodles that scream "hearty" and seem to draw sauce up into them like pasta pipettes! And, I love spicy red sauce, so throw in some pancetta and onions and I'm a very happy girl! It had a high, bright tomato flavor balanced with a deep heat that found the perfect home in the long, tubes of bucatini. The pancetta added just enough smoky saltiness.
It's worth noting that the pasta servings at Lucano seem to be made for two or even three! Always plan for leftovers, which will likely bring no complaints.
Our companions ordered the Fave E Verdura--which serves the beans mashed over greens; a calamari appetizer special that was basically calamari stuffed with calamari, then deep fried, and served with red sauce; Spaghetti Allo Scoglio, which pairs the pasta with shrimp, calamari and clams; and a veal chop special. As these descriptions suggest, the flavors at Lucano are authentic Italian--simple yet sophisticated and grown-up.
Given all that we ate, we decided to split just one dessert and have coffees: Frutti Di Bosco. It's sort of a chantilly cream tart topped with berries and powdered sugar--a nice combination of sweet, tart, and light/fluffy.
It was one of those nights when you think--we need to eat here more often and get together with these friends more often, too. Grazi, Ristorante Lucano!