Lucca Cafe, Irvine
Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:55 PM
An ecumenical, though admirably edited, Mediterranean menu + commitment to local, sustainable, organic & c. makes for a very happy matchup, Californian in the best possible way.
I had butternut squash ravioli from the regular lunch menu, the pasta stained a beautiful sunset orange with the same squash that was used in the filling. And a very good filling it was, too... properly concentrated, bursting with squash flavor, buttery vegetal texture. Butternut is not my favorite among the winter squashes, it is so often insipid, even watery, but common enough that it has become something of the go-to, winter-squash staple in this, the post-Wolfgang Puck era of "butternut squash soup" ubiquity.
Of course insipid butternut can be avoided by buying GOOD butternut to begin with as must have been done at Lucca. I have been known to serve farmers' market butternut myself, peeled, cubed, tossed in butter, brown sugar, s & p, roasted. Prepping enough kabocha (my true squash love) to furnish my Thanksgiving table was not a possibility and the butternut, GOOD butternut, was delicious. But for any butternut treatment to work, the veg itself must be excellent quality.
In the middle of the plate was a beeyootiful teensy-gauge haystack of crispy fried leeks as fine as beading wire, hiding a secret stash of really excellent buttery spinach. To have restaurant food taste of butter -- when called for -- is such a treat. And neither overloaded nor overly austere. Just a delicious and beautiful plate of food.
Can't wait to have it again.
Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:20 AM
Edited by Joan, 19 May 2010 - 08:20 AM.
Posted 19 May 2010 - 09:29 AM
The rooms, for instance, share some design elements.
I think they've been there since 2005 or so, so seem to have touched a chord w/OCers. Haven't been back yet but plan to soon.
Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:15 AM
SO GOOD. A cured, braised pork belly, richly lacquered on the outside and melting on the inside, landed on soft polenta enriched with mascarpone and corn kernals. Dried-apricot chutney, too, on top. Heavenly.
Scottish salmon tartare with homemade potato chips, sort of a perfect, welcome, sparkling fresh rendition of what is a ubiquitous dish often not made well. About the best tartare I've ever had in a restaurant, period.
Many other fab dishes... about which more later, in this space or another.
Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:28 AM
Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:42 PM