At the suggestion of one of our readers, Isaac and I headed to downtown Durham to check out Lucia, a gorgeous Italian restaurant that opened last September in the old Pop’s Pizza space in West Village. On this particular visit, Lucia was kind enough to host us so that we could try out some of their newer items and take pictures. This review, however, is as consistent as our late night trips where it was too dark to take photos. With every visit, we are blown away by the flavor of the dishes and the sheer talent of Executive Chef Matt Greiner.
Appetizers. On a previous visit, we had tried the calamari, which were good and a large amount for the price. On this visit, we had the brussels sprouts and I can confidently say that these were the best brussels sprouts of any I have had anywhere. Served with pork belly, parmesean, and a creme fraiche sauce, they were a steal at $10. Crispy, creamy, and a little bit sweet, this balanced dish is calling my name.
Make way for the entrees. First was a Sweet Pea Agnolotti ($14) came in a citrus brown butter sauce and was topped with prosciutto. It was so sweet and soft with the sauce giving it the pizzaz it needed. We loved the Tarragon Rigatoni ($22), a dish that combined poached lobster and pancetta in every bite. Last was the Pan Seared Trout ($24) nestled up against a cucumber and tomato salad. My goodness, this is how trout should be made and will likely leave you wanting more.
The wood fired pizzas (which we had on a different night) are also worth noting. The White pizza ($13) made with roasted wild mushrooms and fontina fonduta was even better with meat added in. It may be one of my new comfort pizzas. Beware if you order the Carne pizza ($14), however. Topped with piquillo peppers, it was almost too spicy for my hot sauce and pepper-loving husband to handle.
Other cool things to note: They have a really awesome private dining room that can be closed off for events. All you have to do is call and maintain the minimum ($250). Neat thing #2: They have a new mojito which is made from Cello (Italian liquer) that is made in-house. It takes about 3 weeks for each large batch to be brewed to perfection, but it’s worth it.
Overall, Lucia was delicious and is now one of our go-to date spots. When the weather is nice, your meal can be enjoyed on the private patio making it as cool and romantic in the middle of the day as it is at night.