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On day one, the homemade pasta in Lucca's lasagna is made from scratch and left to rest. The following day, the lasagna ($17) is constructed with veal Bolognese and mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. They let it set, owner Vince Belcastro explained, "so that the lasagna won't fall apart." On the third and final day, what lands at your table are seven layers of homemade pasta sheets coated with sweet tomato sauce, luxurious veal, and melted parmigiano cheese forming bronzed buttons crusting the surface. Such is the attention lavished on dishes at this tiny restaurant tucked away on A1A. Try also the smoked salmon ravioli ($18) was a creative alternative to standard cheese-filled ravioli. Smoky fish contrasted against smooth marinara flecked with garlic and chiffonades of basil for an intriguing taste. Another special showcased the fresh catch of the day: grouper with clams and mussels ($30). The flaky fillet was lightly seasoned and seared, moistened with a delicate broth and decorated with juicy shellfish. Shrimp Toscana ($26) was exceptional, with fist-sized prawns seared and deglazed with grappa, mushroom cream sauce, creamy risotto, and a side of seasonal veggies. Finish with the Italian pudding was chilled and served daintily in a martini glass, delivering a powerful punch of chocolate and a mind-numbingly silky texture. Prozac for the taste buds.
At a dinner party in 1979, Tim and Nina Zagat groused about the local newspaper restaurant reviewer. Afterward, they rallied 200 of their friends to provide amateur reviews of 100 New York restaurants. Soon, the city's gastronomes were clamoring... More »
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