23 June 2007

Dinner at Lucca, Sacramento, CA

A business trip to Sacramento provided me with an opportunity to see my cousin and her husband and my aunt who live in nearby Dixon. Since I didn’t have a car, they drove in to see me. I got to pick the restaurant for dinner.

I love Google. After my business meeting, I typed in the address for my hotel and got a map of my neighborhood. I clicked on ‘search nearby’ for restaurants, and got a list of possibilities with their locations indicated in concentric circles on the map. Then I clicked on different results to see which ones seemed most promising.

One was Michelangelo’s. I went there last September when I stayed in the same neighborhood. I really liked it, and I considered taking my relatives there. But I also like to try new places, so I kept on searching.

What I came up with was Lucca. It has its own attractive web site with its menus posted. I also found an intriguing entry in the Sacramento Bee’s food blog that noted that Lucca had become one of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s favorite restaurants. So besides good buzz on food, there was the possibility of a star sighting. That was enough for me.

It was a beautiful, warm Sacramento evening. We were offered a table on the outdoor patio, which we readily accepted. We started with a couple glasses of wine. My cousin’s husband and I ordered a Lucca sangiovese grown in Santa Barbara. It was a very affordable, drinkable wine. My aunt ordered a Spanish sauvignon blanc. She was somewhat chagrined to be ordering a Spanish wine in California, but she enjoyed it.

My aunt ordered the evening specialty. It was a pan roasted halibut topped with a corn and sweet pepper relish and served with sautéd beans and pesto potatoes. My cousin ordered pan-seared salmon with cherry tomato butter over mashed potatoes. Her husband had the cioppini – mussels, clams, prawns, fresh fish in a tomato chili broth topped with toasted bruschetta and drizzled with lemon garlic aioli. I started with a Lucca house chop salad which consisted of radicchio and romaine tossed with lemon oregano vinaigrette and feta cheese. For my meal, I had chicken risotto with field mushrooms and fontina cheese.

The two fish dishes looked like the best meals. The fish was nicely prepared and there was a complimentary variety of vegetables on the plate. The cioppini looked very good. The tomato chili broth was a little spicy, unexpectedly so, but very tasty. I thought my salad was good, but the vinaigrette needed more flavor. Someday, I’ll learn to heed my wife – she always says I make better risotto than most restaurants. I enjoyed my risotto, but it was a little soupier than I make at home, the chicken was good but not memorable, and overall, it lacked any distinctive flavor. That sentence makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it. I really did. But I wished I would have had one of the fish entrées … or the other risotto on the menu sounded good, too. It was saffron, seafood risotto.

I really liked the ambiance of Lucca. The dining room is decorated with original art. One of the things I read on-line was that the space was originally a pottery studio. So it has a rustic feel to it. The diners were generally young and hip. It was a wonderful, relaxing evening, and it was great catching up with my cousin on family news.

1 comment:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.