I'm a bit late in posting this, was there a couple of weeks back. Have been lax about remembering to write my experiences here lately.
I live down the block from this restaurant. My BF and I decided to just pick up and spiffy ourselves up a bit one night out of the blue and push ourselves in the door. We weren't disappointed and can't wait to return.
Lucianos is lovely, warm and gracious all around. From the moment we arrived we felt most welcomed, and we weren't exactly particularly dressed "up" in comparison to others there. Walked past the large bar, to a dining room with a fireplace, a nice touch. At first they tried to seat us next to a large group celebrating some kind of event and we asked to be moved. We found this unusual since the room was rather empty (it was early in the evening) but they didn't complain about the request at all.
The menu is not your typical Italian, has some bold items on it and the wine menu is quite nice although I was unfamilar with many choices. I don't mind that at all and the waiter was knowledgeable enough to help me out. They also had some decent beers for the BF, as he isn't a wine drinker; and a nice martini list too.
We started with a bowl of mussels in a saffron tomato broth. These were quite wonderful, and I had to stop myself from taking the bowl and bringing it to my mouth to finish off the broth (the waiter said he'd seen people actually do this). Plenty of interesting breads are served at the table to dunk in this anyway, so truly not necessary. Very satisfying.
For dinner, I had sauteed scallops over a buttersquash risotto and my better half had a shrimp dish in a subtle cream sauce served with mashed potatoes - rather simple but nicely prepared. The scallops were the winner, however. I can't remember the last time I had them prepared as perfectly. I really wish I'd written this that night, because of course now I'm forgetting the preparations but trust me, all of it was great.
Desert was a hit/miss. His was an pear cheesecake which had fried bits of dough on top to contrast the creamy texture of the sauteed fruit and cake. This was wonderful. Mine was a chocolate risotto creme brulee with a chocolate dipping sauce. This I found rather odd. I had been thinking it would be interesting to complete the theme of my entree. The "crack" on the brulee was perfect, but the dish itself was warm and I prefer my brulee served cold for one thing. Second, the consistancy of this was more like a rice pudding, and a poorly made one at that. Heavy, chalky, gummy. I'd recommend skipping this.
Presentations are well thought out, pleasing to the eye. Prices are moderate, I suppose? Our bill came out to about $125ish (maybe a bit more? Can't remember) with tip and tax, for one shared appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 deserts, 1 beer, 1 glass of wine.
We'll be going back for sure. This restaurant is a great asset to this town. Who would have thought that Rahway, would wind up with yet another wonderful place to eat, with the reputation it seems to have?