Luca Italian Kitchen: the accidental brunch that I will never regret or forget

By Diana lichtenstein || Contributing Writer

Luca, the highly regarded Italian restaurant located on 436 West James Street, has recently expanded its menu to include brunch items. 

Luca’s appeal is rooted in its dedication to only sourcing the finest local ingredients and its emphasis on making customers feel right at home. The dinner menu is comprised mainly of Neapolitan inspired pizzas and handmade pasta dishes. In addition, Luca has great small plates, salads, and entrees such as steak and fish. Some of my personal favorite dishes are the Piccante pizza which has a spicy tomato sauce, garlic, soppressata, mozzarella, and hot honey, and the Gem Lettuces salad which has homemade croutons, a lemon-garlic dressing, and Grana Padano cheese to top it off. The dinner menu is not what I am here to discuss, however. We are here to talk about brunch. 

The brunch at Luca was an unknown entity to me until very recently. I had completely dropped the ball in terms of dinner reservations for parents weekend, and as it was approaching, a lot of my friends were saying that they had Luca reservations. Any student that is intelligent and strategic (clearly not I) knows to book Luca early. Like I said before, Luca is very highly regarded, especially among students, and for good reason; the food is ridiculously delicious. Anyways, I attempted to make a dinner reservation but to no avail as there were no time slots available except for on Sunday during the day. In all honesty, at first, I was a tad disappointed because I believed nothing could compare to the Piccante pizza that is only offered on the dinner menu. Boy, was I incorrect.

When my parents and I innocently walked into Luca on that Sunday morning, we had no knowledge of the treat we were in for. Firstly, walking in, I was reminded of the last time I had been at Luca and all of the sweet memories associated with that. The interior is so aesthetically pleasing with its rustic yet charming feel and two-tier seating arrangement. Once we were seated, we all glanced over the menu which had an array of small plates, egg dishes, and flatbreads. To start, my family and I shared the Gem Lettuces salad, which was luckily still included in the brunch menu, followed with a sticky bun. This sticky bun was like no other. It was gooey and delectable, loaded with pecans and currants. For the main course, I decided to get the Porchetta flatbread which had roasted pork, cheddar, broccoli rabe, garlic aioli, and a sunny-side-up egg. The pork was succulent and the flatbread was crisp. In addition, I ordered a malted mocha which included espresso, steamed milk, chocolate ganache, malt, and sea salt. It definitely hit the spot. My dad ordered the same entree and also thoroughly enjoyed it. My mom, on the other hand, ordered the soft scramble which included black truffle and Parmigiano. The prices were pretty reasonable and significantly lower than the dinner menu prices.   

After my amazing brunch experience, while conversing about my parent’s weekend with some friends, I was amazed to see how many people other than me did not know that Luca brunch existed. In writing this article, I am attempting to shed some light on the existence of this phenomenon and to those who did not know that Luca Brunch is a thing: yes it exists, and yes it is one-hundred percent worth it. 

Sophomore Diana Lichtenstein is a Contributing Writer. Her email is dlitchen@fandm.edu.

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