I was asked to review a local Italian restaurant in return for a free dinner for two, so Mal and I made a night of it. I love date night! 😀
We snapped a pre-date photo at home before dinner. It only took one try with the automatic timer on my camera, which almost never happens!
And we took a self-portrait! Date nights don’t happen all that often anymore, so we needed to document it!
A 25-minute car ride later, we arrived at Ristorante Lucia in Winchester.
On the drive, it started to snow. Don’t I look cold!?!
Thankfully, it was nice and warm inside the restaurant– and totally decked-out for the holidays! 😀
The decorations immediately put me in the holiday mood. I love this time of year!
Ristorante Lucia has an Old World Italian charm to it. The walls are covered with gold-framed photos and a bunch of large mirrors. The ceiling is Sistine Chapel-esque with paintings of religious scenes and Greek gods.
The bar area, next to the main dining area, was cozy, but lively, with a good-size crowd watching the game on a big, flat-screen TV. The bar area would be a cool place to hang out with your significant other or a couple of friends.
Our waiter, John, immediately came over to our table and introduced himself. He took our drink order and explained that the chef had arranged a tasting menu for us. Mal and I were psyched! We thought we’d only be able to taste a couple of things off the menu, but instead we tried a whole slew of dishes. This type of meal meant that I really needed to pace myself!
We started with bread and olive oil, which I had planned to skip. Mal dug right in and insisted that I try the olive oil, which was a mix of garlic, Parmesan, and pesto. I couldn’t turn that combo down, so I grabbed a piece of bread and dipped away. It was fantastic!
I ordered a glass of the Cantele Primitivo Zinfandel from the Puglia region of Italy.
My handsome date:
Loving date night!
The first dish we tasted was from the appetizer menu: Scampi Francavillese.
It was jumbo shrimp sautÃ©ed with butter and garlic in a white wine sauce and served over toasted Italian bread.
It was amazing!!! The shrimp was flavorful and tender with just the right amount of lemon. Obviously, we hated it! 😉 I’m surprised Mal didn’t lick the plate clean!
The next appetizer was the Antipasto Della Casa, which was grilled vegetables in season roasted Red Peppers, Supressata Prosciutto, and Auricchio provolone. Neither of us are big antipasto fans, but we liked this dish, especially the provolone cheese. Mal really liked the prosciutto and salami.
I tried a little bit of everything from the antipasto plate.
For the pasta course, Mal and I shared two dishes.
We started with the Maccheroni Chitarra, which was homemade egg pasta served in a light tomato sauce and Romano cheese. So delish!
The homemade pasta had such a wonderful texture to it– al dante with a square-edge cut to the pasta. The sauce was light, yet full of flavor. We devoured this one!
The second pasta dish, the Ammazzafame, was not as impressive.
The Ammazzafame was penne sautÃ©ed with porcini mushrooms, sliced sausages, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and capers. The ingredient combination sounded delicious, but the dish was just so-so. It definitely needed more flavor– perhaps a thick sauce or more garlic? It was just so bland, especially for a restaurant dish. I could easily make this type of meal at home.
I took a small portion of each pasta dish to start. I went back for a second serving of the Maccheroni Chitarra. 😉
At this point in the evening, Mal and I were having a blast, so we ordered a round of dirty martinis.
Next up: meat!
The Vitello Carrozzella was delicious puffs of mozzarella cheese and veal sautÃ©ed in a white wine sauce and sage. It was divine!
Even more delicious was the Bistecca Alla Arrabiata, which Mal and I agreed was our favorite dish of the night.
The Bistecca Alla Arrabiata was grilled sirloin steak topped with a spicy tomato sauce with mushrooms, capers, anchovies, and olives.
Mal and I were pretty full, so we took leftovers home of both of these dishes. I bet they’ll be awesome for dinner tonight!
I tried just a couple bites of each.
I’m so glad that I paced myself during dinner because I had plenty of room for dessert! 😉
We were served an amazing dessert tray with tiramisu, lemon sorbet served in frozen lemon rinds, and a sliced chocolate ice cream cake covered in dark chocolate shavings. Holy yum!
Mal and I dominated dessert. We didn’t leave a single bite!
Mal and I didn’t want date night to end, so we extended the meal with a couple of cappuccinos. The foam was awesome! We sipped slowly and chatted for another 30 minutes or so.
I love date night. Did I mention that? 😉
Many thanks to the folks at Ristorante Lucia! We had a great time!