Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lucca Cafe

Lucca Café, 6507 Quail Hill Parkway, Irvine, CA 92603

Lucca Café is it a deli?  Is it a restaurant? Is it a wine bar?  The answer is all of the above.  Lucca serves up a different menu between lunch and dinner.  It is a blend of Euro bistro and wine bar with a wide selection of cheese charcuterie offerings.  Charcuterie was originally intended as a way to preserve meat before invention of refrigeration.  Today they are prepared derived from the preservation processes. 

Its lunch menu consists of specialty sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes.  All the food is prepared fresh.  Lucca’s All Natural Crispy Parmesan Chicken Breast Salad is served over Romaine lettuce, with market tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, avocado, and applewood-smoked bacon.  The salad is topped off with homemade Buttermilk-Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Dressing.  If salads are not enough to fill you up try one of their specialty sandwiches for instance the Grilled Portobello Mushroom made with fresh mozzarella cheese, baby spinach, market tomatoes, red onions, basil pesto aioli.  You can make it heartier by adding a grilled chicken breast.  I personally am partial to the Mushroom Melt as its bursting with flavor.  You can actually taste the fresh market tomatoes.  The basil pesto aioli adds another dimension to the flavor.  Lunch is served Monday thru Friday 11 am to 2pm.  So don’t be late as they will not serve you past 2pm.
Dinner is served Sunday thru Thursday 5pm – 9pm and Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to 9pm. They make several skewers Natural Spicy Chicken Breast with grilled onions, mint yogurt dipping sauce; Pork Tenderloin with port wine apple sauce; and Center Cut Swordfish made with lemon garlic dipping sauce with fennel pollen.  You also have your choice of pastas, seafood such as John Dory with capers, spinach, new potatoes, white wine sauce or beef short ribs with red wine and balsamic vinegar braised Yukon Gold mash, baby spinach, horseradish crème fraiche, Cabernet reduction.
The only negative is the price.  Although the atmosphere is comforting with a fire place and wine placed throughout the bar the menu prices can be a little on the high side especially for the daily specials.  Daily specials are meant to be a “deal” I did not find that to be the case.  The sandwiches do come with choice of soup or salad so that was nice price breaker.  It gets 3 Forks Up – based on price.  Food was good just not enough to break the 4 Fork limit.

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