Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Anniversary to The Lovely Spouse

8 years ago, yesterday, The Lovely Spouse and I said "I do" in a tiny, newly-restored historic church in a small town just south of Gettysburg.  The ceremony was serenaded by a swarm of cicadas, rain, and good friends and family.  It really, really doesn't seem that long ago.

To honor the occasion we had dinner at a Nice Place.  The Lovely Spouse wanted duck and our favorite place for it is not open on Tuesdays during Summer. So we went to our second favorite place for it. FWIW he encouraged me to blog this so it's not like I was doing anything to distract from enjoying our evening.

Luigi's is a controversial place in B/CS.  Some people absolutely hate it.  Some love it.  And I think a lot of this comes from a shaky opening, service that often seems to try too hard, some inconsistent dishes, and a menu that really needs to be culled down to a few exceptional and seasonal dishes. When we go we always order the duck.  It's the one thing that we know will be good every single time.  In fact I was about to write them off forever after trying many of the other dishes and finding nothing I liked.  Then I tried the duck.  And we've been coming back once or twice a year since.

Located at the intersection of Rock Prairie and Highway 6, on the North side, Luigi's serves Italian food.  They've been open for a number of years and have a somewhat loyal following.  I credit this to a very nice happy hour, upscale clientele, and select dinner items that make the experience memorable and worthwhile.  The Happy Hour in particular is nice for the live music, which is surprisingly good considering it's B/CS, $5 appetizers, and $5 signature drinks.  I actually recommend most of their appetizers, which I'll be getting to in a minute.

The decor is unexpected.  I can see where they went for the patio theme.  But it comes across as weird the first time you see it.  If you're not at the bar you'll be seated either in the patio area, above.

Or in the "inside" area.  All are indoors, mind you.  As I said, it's kind of strange the first time you see it.

We started our evening off with drinks.  I knew from previous visits that they had an unusual drink called a port martini.  So, naturally, that's what I ordered. The Lovely Spouse got a "normal" martini fixed to his specifications.

Next we placed our orders and started with appetizer and soup.  While we waited bread was brought to the table.

Toasted strips of bread with an olive and garlic tampenade. I, of course, couldn't eat it, but The Lovely Spouse said it was delicious.  Later in the meal they did bring me plain bread and butter. IMO the bread was too...hard. Not sure if it was the toasting or what. But it tasted good.

The Lovely Spouse got the polenta and portabella.  He said the mushroom was perfection.  I've gotten this during happy hour in the past and very much enjoy it.

I got the tomato soup. Very nice tomato and basil flavor. I specifically ordered a cup. It's also available by the bowl. I'd get this again. Yes, there is probably garlic and onions in it, but as long as it's not enough to be in the title for the dish I'm usually OK.  Also, red wine is somewhat protective for my...response, as long as I don't eat too much of the stuff.

We both got the duck.  Here it's slightly over medium and is served with two sauces.  One sauce is a balsamic sauce with chocolate notes and the other is an orange sauce with vanilla notes. It's accompanied by a small stuffed tomato and roasted zucchini.  The Lovely Spouse was happy to have the grilled onions off the zucchini. The duck was tender and delicous and the sauces paired beautifully.  I paired the whole thing with a glass of 2009 Turtle Creek Pinot Noir.  Worked together beautifully.

I know, I know.  We're supposed to get different items if we're reviewing a restaurant.  But, as I said before, the duck is what we both wanted and where this restaurant really shines. Although, there's one more place where it shines: the tiramisu.

I got the regular tiramisu. Lady fingers dipped in espresso layered with zabaglione. Not too heavy, but delicately delicious.

The Lovely Spouse got the chocolate tiramisu.  Cutely plated but I still prefered the "normal" version. The picture ended up dark because it was back-lit.

In all it was a lovely meal and a very nice celebration.  Will we be back?  Most likely.  I really like their happy hour so at some point I have to make a date to leave work in time to attend with someone.  The food really is good, if you're able to navigate the overly large menu and focus on a few exceptional dishes.  The service tries much too hard but really is good service.  And that port martini is a thing of beauty.

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