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Jan 21, 2013 04:06 PM

Must-haves at Lucia?

not sure how stable the menu is, but this will be my first visit. any recommendations for what i shouldn't miss? tia ...

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  1. Menu changes quite a bit. My biggest piece of advice is to be sure to try the salumi plate. The cured meats are house made and amazingly good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mike C. Miller

      thanks, mike--very helpful as i likely wouldn't have ordered this.

      search didn't turn up this helpful thread of yours:

      can never understand why 'you might also like' works so much better than search.

      1. re: foiegras

        I guess I've been any on posting followup reviews. I've dined there somewhere between half a dozen and a dozen times. It's always great. I can think of only one or two dishes I wouldn't order gladly time after time. Ordering well is here is sort of like falling off a log. But don't forget to talk to your server. They know the menu and can tell you what's really special on any given night.

    2. I think nduja is almost always on the salumi platter, but either way, the salumi platter would be a must have if you've never been. I'm not sure how much of the menu is the same compared to the last time I ate there.

      1. I'll third the salumi board - in addition to each of the products being delicious, the variety of textures and intensity of flavor is really nice.

        I'd also recommend adding a couple of the foie gras stuffed prunes - each is a single bite, for $1.

        Often, in addition to the salumi board, they offer an appetizer that features their red wattle lardo - the last time I had it, it was presented on crostini with roasted mushrooms and a touch of honey. Delicious, but the conundrum is that the lardo is amazing on its own - so while it worked well in the dish, it was a challenge not to just take it off and eat it separately.

        In general, I'd say that the appetizers and pastas have more bang-for-your-stomach-space than the entrees. The entrees are good... but I almost never order them, opting for several appetizers instead.

        otherwise, it's hard to go wrong. Even dishes that sound like they might be boring can be fantastic. For instance, they've been getting some incredibly delicious chickens from some farm near Austin (I think Vital). I had some of this on a pasta once and it was remarkably flavorful. I was told by a two other sources that the entree version was even more delicious (negating my previous comment).

        in general, I'd say just to be a bit adventurous and ask about ingredients you don't recognize.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gavlist

          thanks--i've been thinking the same thing wrt entrees, but we'll see what's on offer. would it be realistic to get two half orders of pasta if i can't decide?

          foie gras stuffed prunes sounds good ...

          1. re: foiegras

            I typically eat one appetizer and one small pasta (and occasionally share a dessert) which usually leaves me quite satisfied. Two half-orders of pasta would also be fine - adding the charcuterie board would be too much for me (although I'd do it anyway).

            1. re: foiegras

              looking at the menu online now... I'm not sure if it's going to be exactly the same by the time you get there, but it looks like you'll have some tough decisions ahead of you.

              I'd be all over the cotechino appetizer, as well as the chicken liver crostini - that minus8 verjus that they use on it is insane. The gnocchi with kabocha and radicchio sounds good, as do the smoked sweetbread casoncelli.

              I'm glad I looked, too - I forgot about the desserts. I'm not generally a dessert fanatic, but I really enjoy the desserts at Lucia. They (like the desserts at FT33) tend to be less sweet than typical desserts, and often incorporate savory or bitter components that I really enjoy. The carnaroli rice pudding is awesome - simultaneously rich and creamy, but also somehow light in texture. Chocolate budino is good too.

              and, if you drink - you might want to ask Jennifer about her selection of amaro. On my last visit, she recommended one (made from cardoons) that paired beautifully with dessert.

              1. re: gavlist

                now that i've had it, agree that the rice pudding is really great!! i think that whipped cream is folded into cooked rice to make it light. it was served with a salted caramel sauce, chopped almonds, and cooked (previously dried?) peaches. i thought it would have been perfect w/o the fruit.

                the other really standout dish was the foie gras agnoletti with parmesan sauce and black truffles. the sauce was so good i wanted to lick my bowl, but you'll be pleased to hear i did not. should have gotten the whole order rather than half--i could have eaten this all night.

                also had (for two) the salumi, squid crostini, red wattle salad, duck with farro, and olive oil cake with chocolate budino.

                the salad greens were too bitter for me and the vinegar quite sharp, and i wasn't crazy about the fish sauce with the duck. the texture of the farro was quite nice.

                many of the dishes included nuts ... not sure what the secret is, but they were outstandingly fresh, crisp, and perfectly toasted. the bread was also outstanding. great texture was a theme ...

                gavlist, really appreciate your specific recommendations. the menu was quite different than the sample ... i had also had my eye on the chicken liver app, but it wasn't there. asked about the prunes--she said they hadn't had them for about a week. i'm sure i'll make my way back for more ...

                1. re: foiegras

                  I went on Thursday and ate from a similar menu. The chicken liver crostini was one of the best things that night - topped with some caramelized onions and calabrian chiles, it was a really nice combination of sweet/savory flavors, and rich/crunchy textures. The other winner (of the things we tried) was a coarse-ground, rich, creamy polenta with hedgehog mushrooms and pork belly - I assume from one of the red wattles that they bring in. The coppa di testa was also excellent, with a little fennel and parsley salad and some pear puree. And we also had the foie gras agnolotti, which was delicious - I guess that's the benefit of them not having the prunes... they had to find another outlet for the foie gras mousse :) And, for the record, I have no problem with bowl-licking (having done it myself from time to time).

                  for dessert we had the meyer lemon panna cotta, which was excellent. Light, bright and lemony, with just enough sweetness to balance the acidity. Topped with some cubes of caramelized pineapple - and I think the pineapple was tossed in sugar before caramelization, because there were these little crunchy bits that were reminiscent of the topping on a creme brulee.

                  So, as you can see, Mike C. Miller was correct - it's pretty easy to order well. I'm glad you had a good experience.

                  1. re: gavlist

                    i really do love both chicken liver & beef tongue, so i was sorry those weren't on the menu i got.

                    three outstanding dishes (counting the bread) is really a home run, but i also got two i really didn't care for. now i know what questions to ask/requests to make, so hopefully my next visit won't have anything in that category & can just be all home run ...