Lucia is in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, a small chef owned Italian restaurant. It was opened in 2010 by Chef David Uygur and his wife Jennifer, who also serves as wine coordinator. There are just 32 seats in the place and is still a hard reservation to come by but there are 4 seats at the counter that are reserved for walk-ins, on a first come first served basis. Parking is another issue, as there is no valet, only street parking and a few spaces in a lot to the side of the building. If you don’t get dropped off make sure and allow time to circle around looking for a place to leave your car. Inside you’ll find a cozy place with benches and pillows lining the walls and small bar wood tables fairly close together. A couple of windows are on one wall that look out onto the busy street. Lights are lowered and there is no music but the hum of a full house provides plenty of background noise to keep table conversations private. Memorabilia line the walls along with jars of preserved foods. The counter seats look at the salad and cold appetizer preparation are and workers there are friendly when they have a minute. Service is efficient and helpful with fairly quick pacing. We have visited many times but for the purposes of this entry we visited twice.
We started our first meal with a couple glasses of house Prosecco while we made our meal decisions.
After placing our order the bread arrives and it is a wonderful dense bread with a crackly crust and doughy interior. It comes with a tasty butter and they will bring more if you ask.
For antipasti we tried the Salumi misti small portion and the crostone with seared porcini,. the Salumi is a tasting of house-made cured meats including burnt chili coppardo, capicola, green chile and caraway lonza, rabbit and olive terrine, mortadella with pistachio, cacciatore, ventricina di teramo and chicken liver mousse crostini. It is a lot of meat, even on the smaller portion. The ventricina di teramo was one of the spreads on bread and had a nice amount of spice. The liver mousse on crostini was mildly flavored and very nice. The terrine was another tasty option as were all the sliced meats. It is a good combination of things to try. The crostone with seared porcini, maitake mushroom in scabece, ricotta and chives was excellent. The ricotta was house made and the mushrooms nicely strong in flavor on that tasty bread. This one is a real winner.
Most of the pasta courses come in a large and small size so you can easily have it and a secondi. I’ve often thought the pasta options here are the best of the items to eat. We tried a small special Tajarin with white truffles. It had a beautiful buttery sauce on the tender pasta but the truffles had little taste or aroma. Still the dish was wonderful.
We had a large Sanguinaccio stuffed francobolli with broccoli raab, pecan, Pecorino Romano and raisins. It was quite tasty with a nice textural variety between the pasta, greens and nuts. Sanguinaccio is blood sausage that was stuffed in the pasta and it was really good.
For our last course we split a Braised lamb shank with polenta, escarole and aleppo. It was an easy course to share with lots of tender braised meat and creamy polenta, made from a fine corn meal. The greens were a bit salty but when blended with all the rest it was fine. A savory dish full of flavor. Another winner.
For dessert we tried the Cornflake brittle semifreddo, brandy caramel and toasted pecans. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was incredible. The darkly roasted pecans went perfectly with the sticky thick caramel. Then it was topped with creamy ice cream and ultra crisped and caramelized cornflakes. Wow, amazing. Yum x2 here!
On our second visit we started with the Profound Farms greens with garlic, lemon, anchovy and olive oil. Our first one was way salty and they happily took it back and remade it. It still seemed heavy on the lemon over the olive oil but the greens were extremely fresh and nicely flavored. It was good.
We followed with the Capicola, aged provolone, pepper jelly and charred rapini. It was an excellent dish. The smoky rapini was particularly tasty as was the pepper jelly. The meat and cheese blended nicely and the jelly added a special extra to the dish. A great melding of tastes here.
Instead of having a Secondi plate we ordered 3 of their pastas. The Garganelli with braised lamb, mint, yogurt, green chili and rye breadcrumbs we ordered as a small size. The breadcrumbs added a fun texture crunch to the well cooked pasta. It was okay.
The cavatelli with fennel sausage, escarole, almond and fennel top pesto we also ordered in a small size. The flavors blended better here with a nice essence of fennel throughout.
The Honey nut squash caramelle with soubise, brown butter, sage and pepitas we ordered in full size. It was the best of the 3 with the sauce having a good richness and the squash actually having a good amount of flavor. It was a successful blending.
We ordered the same dessert as the last visit, Cornflake brittle semifreddo, brandy caramel and toasted pecans, and it was as good as before. It is not to be missed!