Our next Oakland restaurant was a bit of a mixed bag. We headed to Craig Street for an early dinner on a Saturday night at Lucca, a restaurant we’d heard much buzz about.
We didn’t make reservations, as we arrived shortly after they opened for dinner, and the place was nearly empty, but somehow, I got the feeling that our server was not happy with this. In fact, we couldn’t quite read our server and what was going on with him. At first, we felt like we were inconveniencing him by taking up a table, when he was waiting for his reservations to show up, but then we thought perhaps his English wasn’t very strong, and that’s why he seemed a bit short with us. Maybe he was just having a bad night. Whatever the case, it wasn’t the warm welcome and service I think we both were expecting.
Thankfully, the food made up for what was lacking in service. We started with a bread basket with oil and vinegar dipping sauce. This was quite good, and served on locally-made Fiesta ware (more on that in coming entry).
And of course, no Italian dinner would be complete without a bottle of wine. We settled on a bottle of chianti, which is one of those wines we always overlook, but wind up loving when we finally decide to drink it.
I got this gigantic Caesar salad with my meal, which was pretty much exactly how a Caesar salad is supposed to be made. The romaine was in big sheets, and not in little bite-size bits like most salads, so I had to use a knife. I’ll admit, that was a new salad experience for me, but the flavor of the dressing and the crispness of the lettuce were so good that I didn’t mind a little oddness with my salad.
And then it was on to the entrees – Michael got the filet mignon, served with cheddar au gratin potatoes (that’s the little cup on the side there). Thick, juicy steak, and even the broccoli was alright (just kidding, I still hate broccoli – but Michael loves it!).
I got the pork chops, which came with a rosemary glaze and were served on top of potatoes and zucchini. Oh it was so good. It was so good, in fact, that I wanted to save one of the pork chops to have for lunch the next day…
…which is why I was so very upset when the waiter took my plate and discarded the remaining pork chop without putting it in a box for me. While I do understand that it is an American-ized thing to have takeout (seriously, this idea of anti-takeout is so weird to me, because it’s not like portion sizes are drastically smaller there, or at least in Italy, where I’ve been and wished for takeout), I definitely saw the table next to us receive doggy bags.
So, all in all, I don’t know that we’ll be returning to Lucca. The food was great, but the prices are quite high, and the service was just not up to par with what we were expecting for the cost. I could see how this would be a nice choice for college students without cars looking for a fancy date location, as it is right in the heart of Craig Street and does have discount offers like the Entertainment Book, but I think we’ll be heading back to Bloomfield the next time we want a fancy Italian meal in the ‘Burgh.