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Lucia Now Open

I have the pleasure of dining at Lucia last night, the first night that they have been open to the public. Lucia is chef David Uygar's new restaurant in the Bishop Art's District. David was most recently the chef at the now closed and much missed Lola.

The short verdict is that it was very good. The menu is predominately Italian and everything that we had was good. Especially outstanding was the sampler of home cured salumi. It was nothing short of amazing. Just to die for. Other standouts were the spelt spaghetti with duck and the quail a la mattone. But there wasn't a single dish that missed the mark.

A small, eclectic, well selected, and reasonably priced wine list accompanies the food. David's wife, Jennifer, is knowledgeable about the list and can answer any questions or make recommendations.

It's always tough to make a judgment off of one visit, but if I don't miss my guess, Nona now has some competition for Dallas' best Italian restaurant.


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  1. i can't wait to go to this!

    1. It's a good thing for Nonna and Lucia that they're miles apart and cater to a different clientele.

      1. We went last night and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

        You start with the house-cured olives - three or four types of green olives in a nice brine.

        We started with the salumi and the crispy lamb meatballs. The salumi had two types of salami, coppa, and a crostini spread with andouille. The salumi were excellent, but my daughter and I decided our favorite was the meatballs. They are coated in bread crumbs and sauteed (I assume) and then served on a spicy red pepper sugo. I am not usually a big meatball fan, but these were the best meatballs I've ever had. I plan on going back and getting a plate of those meatballs to eat all by myself.

        The quail al mattone was delicious and served with a truly luscious polenta. My husband had the steak with cauliflower and cleaned his plate. They were very kind and accommodated our 8-yr-old's request for "plain pasta" - she had tagliatelle with olive oil.

        For dessert we shared a chocolate budino with whipped cream, slivers of candied orange zest and a salted caramel candy. It was divine and we had a bit before our daughter set up defense elbows and declared the rest, "MINE!"

        Everything was delicious and paired really well with our bottle of Salice Salentino. Jennifer was always my favorite wine person at Central Market and we trusted her to pick for us. The wine list is very reasonably priced and there are three wines by the glass: one sparkling (I do not remember what it was), a pinot grigio for the white and a red that also escapes my memory. Obviously, I'd make a horrible witness.

        The restaurant itself is very small and cozy, about 30 seats and 4 more at the counter. I'd highly recommend reservations. We went early and I think there were a few walk-ins while we were there but it filled up as the evening went on.

        I look forward to returning and trying the pasta dishes and having another order of those meatballs!

        4 Replies
        1. re: dalaimama

          we also had the salumi platter, which sounds like it was the same assembly as yours - coppa, two salamis (orange/fennel and black pepper). But the spread in our case was Nduja, which (we were told) is a fermented sausage that is subsequently hot smoked. All were delicious, and I really enjoyed the range of textures, which was different even between the two salamis (one more dense and meaty, one more lightly packed and almost crumbly).

          I also agree about the meatballs - insanely good. And even the budino - I'm not a dessert fanatic, but I couldn't stop myself from finishing that dish. It was lightly sweet, rather than dense and cloying. And the candied orange zest on top was great - punctuated sweetness with vaguely bitter overtones.

          we tried a bunch of stuff... a trio of crostini, scallop crudo, braised pork belly, gnocchi in a taleggio cream sauce with speck, etc. The only things I didn't love were the too-sweet squash ravioli, and the whole wheat spaghetti with braised duck. In the latter case, the pasta was nice, and the duck was tender and delicious, but it was overwhelmed by too much of an assertively spiced tomato sauce... that poor duck didn't stand a chance.

          1. re: gavlist

            Thanks for the correction on the sausage spread. Nduja probably sounded like andouille to my ears and I did not inquire in any more depth. I was too busy saying, "yum".

            I want to try the ragu. It looked really good. Alas, Picky Picky prefers plain pasta. (She's actually not that picky, she just really prefers pasta with olive oil.)

            1. re: dalaimama

              I forgot about the ragu - that was also quite good. Veal, with an interesting creamy texture, and of course beautifully made pasta.

              btw - Jennifer told me that they'll be selling fresh pastas AND salumi (!!!) in the near future... but probably not until next year.

              1. re: gavlist

                correction... not sure what I was thinking about the ragu, but it's pork and chicken liver. Strange sounding combination, but really delicious! That chicken liver is also available as pate on crostini, which were very very good. Above all, though, I strongly recommend the beef tongue appetizer - served with roasted onions and arugula, it's rich and beefy and incredibly tender. Awesome awesome dish.

        2. I thought the dishes were well composed with nice attention to seasonality, and everything was cooked precisely with a good attention to vegetables that's often lacking in Dallas. It was a very fun and comfortable atmosphere and reminded me of some place in Chicago (although it would probably be French there). I could see Lucia filling York Street's void to some degree. Some really nice and reasonably priced Italian wines. I don't think I could pick a favorite although I didn't really try any pasta I don't think. I like Uygur's approach to food which seems to employ a lot of balancing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luniz

            I agree. A second visit there has left me with the impression of a very nice restaurant... but not exquisite. There are small flaws with many of the dishes... a fish dish with really beautiful baby turnips and brussels sprouts was overwhelmed by too much of an emulsified butter sauce (in fact, it may have been just straight up butter). Oyster risotto was cooked to perfection, studded with nice tender oysters - but came out somewhat too salty (I thought). Raw winter vegetables served with bagna cauda was a great dish... I'd order it again - but he should have gone with smaller/younger carrots - the giant things we were served didn't work with the dipping sauce nearly as well as the other vegetables.

            a lot of little nit picky things that I feel almost guilty bringing up - I really do like the restaurant, and I'll certainly be back (again tomorrow in fact, making 3 visits within a week). And I can't think of anything wrong with the celery root soup (fantastic!), or the trio of vegetable crostini, etc. But I want to temper my previous raves with some critical perspective. I think that this restaurant is a very nice establishment that falls a bit short of greatness. For now anyway - they did just open.

          2. So excited to try this place! It'll be so nice to have decent Italian here in Oak Cliff! I'll still make the trip to Nona for the clam pizza, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sulan

              A big second to the clam pizza at Nonna!

            2. Tried Lucia last night and every thing was excellent. Highlights were the seared tongue Antipasto, Gnocchi with caramelized cabbage, Oyster risotto, and Wild striped bass. In addition the bread is excellent. I like the wine list 98% Italian, with good choices as a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and a mini Tuscan in the $40.00 range. Jennifer and the front of the house are very good
              A bonus is the Bishop Arts District is festive for Chritmas. I'll be back.

              5 Replies
              1. re: hankster

                its sounds like the EXACT type of restaurant that dallas is short on...not necessarily an expense account/michelin rated place, but STILL focusing on fresh ingredients and creative preparation.

                the descriptions keep reminding me of Vespaia in Austin.

                1. re: JonFromTJs

                  love love love Vespaia in Austin. If it's anything like that I can't t wait to try it!!!

                  1. re: JonFromTJs

                    You mean Vespaio and Enoteca Vespaio? I'd agree that Lucia feels the same.

                    1. re: air

                      I concur. I love both Vespaio and it's sister, Enoteca Vespaio. As it (very coincidental) turns out, the owner and I went to the same high school. About 15 years apart.

                    2. re: JonFromTJs

                      I've eaten at Lucia and I've eaten at Vespaia. Both share somewhat the same philosophy in terms of being down to earth. But with all due respect, the food Vespaia can't hold a candle to the food at Lucia in terms of quality or preparation or quality of ingredients. Lucia is much better, IMHO.

                  2. I was impressed by the antipasti dishes and the pasta dishes but I thought the main dishes were not quite on point. I thought the broccoli raab was so bitter when sauteed that it over powered the braised pork belly. This was the only problem I had with the entire night that and the service was not quite on point yet. Overall I would go again just for the n'duja and the pastas but I would skip the mains.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      I found the bitterness of the broccoli raab to be both mild and pleasant. It was a nice contrast to the fatty richness of the pork belly. My biggest complaint about that dish were the corona beans, which I found too starchy and uninteresting... but they have since been replaced by lentils. However, I do agree with you overall. The appetizers and pastas are generally more interesting and boldly flavored than the main courses.

                      1. re: gavlist

                        I cannot find the menu online. Are there any pastas without meat and how many fish selections are there? If you had to choose between Lucia and Nonna which would you choose?

                        1. re: breakaway

                          I would choose Lucia - I think the food is a lot more interesting, and maybe a little better prepared. Plus the environment is more to my liking - kind of like the difference in neighborhoods (Bishop Arts vs. HP). Of course, if there were no tables available at Lucia, I'd go to Nonna in a heartbeat. Also a very good restaurant with interesting and well-prepared dishes in their own right.

                          At Lucia... I might be missing something, but I think there was only one vegetarian pasta dish when I ate there - the squash ravioli, which I found a bit too sweet for my liking. The gnocchi deviated from vegetarian only by virtue of some speck draped across the top - easily remedied by the kitchen. And, it seems like it would be easy enough for them to put together a vegetarian pasta on the fly, given what they have in the kitchen.

                          Fish - there was an oyster risotto, a crudo appetizer, and a pan roasted fish entree (striped bass, perhaps?).

                          my last visit was before xmas, so the menu may have changed.

                          1. re: gavlist

                            Menu changes regularly but a lot stays the same...
                            Here is a sample of what was served when I was there:

                            Winter vegetable minestra: a vegetable soup with lentils, farro and cavolo nero
                            Salumi misti: a tasting of house made cured meats
                            Chicken liver crostini
                            Crispy lamb meatballs
                            Pinzimonio: a tasting of preserved vegetables and salads
                            Three Italian cheeses with mostarda made from local fruit
                            Mixed greens with a lemon and garlic vinaigrette
                            Seared beef tongue with roasted onions and salsa verde
                            Crudo of wild Maryland rockfish with shaved fennel and olives
                            Tagliatelle al ragĂș
                            Spinach and ricotta gnudi with Parmigiano Reggiano and brown butter
                            Ravioli di zucca: winter squash ravioli with sage, butter and grated amaretti
                            Littleneck clam risotto with parsley
                            Toasted spelt bigoli with braised duck
                            Slow roasted pork with corona beans and broccoli raab
                            Quail al mattone with pancetta, polenta and vincotto
                            Slow-cooked wild Maryland rockfish with pistachios, olives and chard
                            Skirt steak with cauliflower, fried bread crumbs and garlic/anchovy butter

                            Pictured is the tongue dish

                    2. We had dinner at Lucia a couple of nights ago. It was wonderful. Let me put it this way: about a week ago we had dinner at Del Posto in NYC. For one course I had the duck. Really, really good. I also had the duck at Lucia. Better. Yes, Del Posto blew us away in some respects (not just butter with your fresh-baked bread -- pork fat, too! And the two pasta courses were transcendent), but it also cost three times as much. Other than being a tad loud for my taste (how can so few people make so much noise?), we enjoyed everything about Lucia. It's a real gem.