Dinner & A Date

My Date May Not Have Been Stellar, but the Food Was Out of This World

Woe is me! My date for this month’s “Dinner & A Date” story tested positive for COVID the morning of our reservation at Luca Osteria. Since he is an actor, I feel justified in relating the drama of the situation, as I had to scramble to find a new date – a software engineer, and not nearly as enthralling as I expected the actor to be. But I soldiered on for you, dear reader. And to his credit, he didn’t bore me with a single story about whatever app he was developing or what fin-tech companies he’s worked for. 

The good news: the food at Luca Osteria, created by Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, was exquisite. I’m here to tell you that the patate fritte at Luca is among the best dishes I’ve ever had – and yes, I do love potatoes. (This will probably be a recurring theme.) Served with an egg yolk on top that is mixed into the dish tableside with parmigiano fonduta and black truffle, these little spheres were sheer joy in the mouth. There were quite a bit of them too, making the $23 price tag worth it.

For dinner, I had the cacio e pepe pasta ($29), delightfully peppery without being spicy and in the same creamy fonduta di par-migiano sauce as the patate fritte. I’ve had a lot of pasta in my life, and this cracked the top three.

My date went with the short rib Bolognese ($35), which he described as “great.” Please forgive him, as he usually speaks in Javascript. However, I also tasted it, and I have to say: that’s how you do a meat sauce. The pappardelle pasta was an excellent choice for the dish, as the inch-thick noodles spoon up the short rib for you. An addition of nutmeg was understated yet surprisingly flavorful.

Dinner & A Date
Short Rib Bolognese
Dinner & A Date - Luca Osteria
Luca Osteria by Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli
Pistachio Semifreddo.

My companion gallantly allowed me to switch drinks with him, since I found the Costiera cocktail too acidic with its combination of Grey Goose citron, limoncello, and prosecco. His Greta martini (Bombay dry gin, St. Germain, lychee liqueur, and lemon), on the other hand, was smooth and pumped with just enough lychee to perk it up without being overpowering.

I tried to beg off dessert, but at the behest of my date – who urged me to think of our readers’ crushing need to know about the desserts – I tried the pistachio semifreddo. Good decision. With sea salt and dark chocolate, these cubes of mousse were surprisingly light, enough so that I managed to suck down two of the four, despite the fact that I hadn’t even been able to finish my pasta. The pistachio was subtle, the dark chocolate rich but sparing.

I might not ask the software engineer out again, but I will come back to Luca Osteria. And pro tip: if you come, ask for Tanya. Our wonderful waiter for the night, she was knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate about the food. As the Luca Osteria motto goes: “Good pasta, good people.”

Luca Osteria

116 Giralda Ave.