I’ve wanted to go to Luciano’s for awhile. But since it’s in Mulvane, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to talk anyone into going. Especially since I’d heard the place was overpriced. This is where Katie enters the equation. She loves new places! She suggested we go on Sunday, and boy am I glad I did!
Dio, che guarda deliziosa!
First and foremost, a disclaimer. I don’t allege to be cultured or well-traveled. I haven’t left the country. Hell, I probably haven’t even been to half the states. But I know what I like. In some cases that’s queso and boring domestic light beer. In other cases it’s pizza, pasta and ice cream. I don’t have the most traveled palette, but i love new things. And I’ll take any opportunity to discover authentic cuisine. Remember our trip to Usuluteco?
Disclaimer ends. On to dinner!
First we had to figure out Luciano’s is in Mulvane and not Derby. We were sitting at or near 216 W. Main Street in Derby, arguing about whether a parking lot was or wasn’t a street. Katie was hungry. I didn’t know how to get inside the map, and Faye hates iPhones. All is NOT right with the world.
Finally we end up in Mulvane, on Main Street. And the highlight of the trip is parking in the middle of the street! Hell yeah! Well, that was the highlight until we went inside. The place was cozy and quaint. The hostess asked us if we had reservations (and made it seem like it would have been nice if we did – note to yourself if you decide to go). We’re seated at a table, and our waiter, who we call Antonio, brings us fresh bread and sets us up with a plate of spices, oil and balsamic vinegar. I’m pleased already.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m taking a picture of here… You can see the tables are setup nicely. And I even noticed they change the tablecloth after each table leaves, which is nice! In the background you see the bread. I’m salivating already. In the foreground is the oil and vinegar jar (both were in one). We found this wildly amusing.
Katie ordered calamari for an appetizer. I think she expected it to be fried. I was a little tentative about trying it because I wasn’t a huge fan of the fried calamari I have tried.
This is what fried-free calamari looks like. Deep fryers all over the city are sighing in distaste. But I actually think I liked it better than fried.
After mulling over the menu for what felt like days, we finally started to piece together our orders. There are a few different sections on the menu. There are appetizers, a first course, and an entree. The first course section’s broken down into salads and pastas. And both of these you can order in half orders. I believe the intention might be to get a salad and/or pasta. And then add an entree on. But I was in a pasta and salad mood. And apparently so was everyone else.
You can order a full order of a salad, or a side salad. The side salad is the same salad, but without the cheese bowl. And a cheese bowl is Parmesan cheese that’s cooked in a pan then shaped into a bowl shape. I’d consider it similar to a taco salad bowl, only made of cheese. And you can also order a full or half order of pasta. I ordered a full salad and a half order of pasta. Katie did the same. Faye ordered pasta.
Here’s my Insalate de Formaggi. Which is, you guessed it, CHEESE! It’s made with a spring salad mix, three cheeses (parmesean, emmental, fresh mozzarella), tomato and cucumber. And it was drizzled with a balsalmic vinegar dressing. And was ah-mazing. No, seriously. So good. Side note: Cheese lover talking here.
Here’s Katie’s salad. Insalate di Gamberetti (gamberetti means shrimp or prawn). This salad had shrimp, mushrooms, walnuts, spices, spring mix and a dressing he described, but now I can’t remember what it was. Someone speak up if you know.
I think Katie also loved her salad. Neither of us were big fans of the cheese bowl. It’s probably something everyone should try, but next time I’ll probably go for a side salad.
Next, our pasta! I feel like the sky should open up! I was so excited. I let our waiter choose my pasta (because I almost choose a cheese pasta, until I realized that would be too much cheese).
Faye’s pasta. Yum! (Yes, I had a bite. Hey, don’t judge.) Pasta Con Salsiccia. (Salsiccia means sausage for those of you writing your own Italian to English translation manual.) It had Italian sausage, carrots, spring onions, tomato cream and parmesean cheese. All mixed with fettuccini pasta. Perfecto! Wait, is perfecto Italian? Ah, who cares. We’re about to enter into a carb coma.
Katie’s Penne agli Scampi – Which is flambeed scampi that’s somehow ground up and into the sauce. The sauce is tomato rou, and it’s slow-cooked for hours. Katie identified the flavor as kind of a tomato bisque. And it was delicious over the penne pasta! (Picture courtesy of Faye.)
And finally, my Pasta Carbonara. Which is spaghetti with sauteed pancetta, parmesean cheese and egg. So freaking delicious. Sorry this picture’s not great. I didn’t realize it was so bad until I got home. If it helps, the picture before the jump is a close up of this dish.
All in all? Either other diners were turned away by the prices overall (which really aren’t bad), and that made their meal less enjoyable, or Luciano has better trained his chefs. Everything was made well, presented well, the service was fantastic (even if our waiter did appear to be 15 and… married?). If I ever went on dates, this would be a perfect date spot. It’s nice because it’s away from the city. Main Street in Mulvane feels so quaint. The ambiance was great with live background music. And we even got to have a short visit with Luciano himself.
And we found out spaghetti and meatballs isn’t Italian! Who knew? I guess there is spaghetti in Italy (duh) and there are meatballs. But Italians don’t mix the two like we do here. Not that that should stop you. I say live outside the law, my friends.
I’d recommend the place to anyone. I’d say make it an occasion. Even though it’s not necessary to dress up, you could definitely dress up and fit right in. Call for reservations on busier nights because the place is pretty small. And while you can have a reasonably priced meal out of pasta and salad, if you want to get a full entree, plan to spend about $20 for an entree (not including salad, but it does usually include some sort of vegetable with a meat or fish entree). So good. So worth it!