Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Luca's Ristorante ~ Flemington, New Jersey

Sometime back in 1999, when Mr. RJG was working in the northeast Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem on a 2 week assignment, I asked the locals where was the best place for Italian food. They said the closest was not south Philly but rather Trenton, New Jersey. I ran out of time and only ended up trying a couple of local Bensalem places which were good, not great (pretty much what my cohorts said). So when I did my homework for this trip, it appears I may have missed my window of opportunity. Apparently many of the classic places in Trenton have either boarded up or are “not the same”. Analyzing the situation, and looking at hotel options in the area, I settled on the community of Flemington instead. And Luca’s was to be the Italian destination of choice.

With the great taste of Little Italy still on our mind, we stuck to our game plan, and headed over to Luca’s for dinner. We sat down and prepared to order win when the waiter said it was “BYOB”. What? As noted many times in the RJG, BYOB is a concept we love in Texas, and I know it exists in a few other states, but New Jersey is one place I did not expect to hear this. So I immediately asked where the nearest liquor store was. The waiter seemed surprised, but didn't realize we were guests on vacation, so we only had one shot at this. He said there was one only a few minutes away. Hey, Mr. and Mrs. RJG want our wine with our Italian food!

With that out of the way, we settled into Luca’s and prepared for our Italian meal. Could it be as good as the night before? Well, almost! Luca’s is a little bit more modern, and there were nods to the Romano’s Macaroni Grill way of doing things (olive oil and pepper for the bread, extra large portions). And really, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. The biggest weakness of the publicly traded Macaroni Grill is consistency, like all major chains. Since we've only been to Luca’s once, I can’t comment on consistency, but overall we were both quite pleased with our meal. I again stuck to the basics and wasn't disappointed. The portions here are quite large, and are ideal for take home leftovers, though we weren't obviously in a position to do so.

Luca’s is a two store local chain. The other being on the way to the New York side of the state in Somerset, NJ.


Website: http://www.lucasristorante.com/

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