Since reading about it on the board, I've been dying to try Luna Park, but being on the East coast makes it rather difficult to just drive over to try a bite. But it's Thanksgiving, finally I'm home.. anyway.
Had 8PM reservations for 2 on Saturday night. My friend and I were running a couple of minutes late, so I called the restaurant to let them know we'd be there at around 8:10. Fine, they said, thanks for letting us know. When we got there at 8:05, we were told it'd just be a couple of minutes, which gave us time to really check out the crowd and the place.
Decor is interesting - random paintings on the wall, kitschy chandeliers, the room a very dark red. (As my friend put it - it's like they had some sort of very surreal dream, woke up, and hit the nearest garage sale to recreate it.) Curtained booths along one wall, elevates booths along another. It was very crowded at the bar - very very crowded - and the restaurant itself was just bustling.
We finally got seated at 8:30, which was a little annoying because I had made reservations for 8. But fine, whatever, we were in no big rush. I got a mojito and my friend a glass of sangria - both were good. (However, the second mojito I ordered was too strong - normally, not a complaint I make, but in mojitos, you need a good balance.) Several slices of bread, which was largely unremarkable, were also placed on the table with the water which we didn't have to ask for. (Always nice, but what if we hadn't wanted tap water?)
We started with the moules frites, which were surprisingly good. Mussels were plump, and the fries were great for dipping into the yummy broth at the bottom of the bowl. My friend then got the nicoise salad, which she said she enjoyed greatly. After looking at the limp, pallid, and very sad sea bass that the people next to me got (although maybe it tasted good, I have no idea), I chose the braised lamb shank. It was good, though not stellar, and was actually more like lamb ragu spooned over polenta, with an enormous bone and a forest of parsley as garnish. A very generous serving portion - I couldn't finish it all. Didn't order dessert, as we were full and weren't overly impressed by the menu - it seemed like they had compiled the 7 or 8 most popular desserts from the past 20 years. (Yes, the make your own s'mores did look interesting - but my favourite part of makings s'mores is perfectly toasting my marshmallow myself.)
The one incredibly annoying factor (well, aside from being bumped into every once in awhile as I was sitting with my back to the walkway) was the noise level. Either that, or I'm going prematurely deaf, because I could barely hear my friend all night.
Service throughout was wonderful, even after we requested our check, then realised that we wanted coffee and had to flag the poor harried waiter down to tell him of our change of mind. Coffee, incidentally, came with lumps of both brown and white sugar, which I loooove, because I have the what some-people-consider-nasty habit of eating sugar cubes. Waiter was friendly without being ingratiating, dishes came at a good pace and empty plates were removed promptly. (Another small quibble, though - they took away the bread when the mussels came, even though there were 3 slices left. What if I had wanted it?)
I would go back for drinks at the bar, to meet up with friends before going elsewhere. Might eat here with a group of friends also, since prices were reasonable and the menu has enough to cover most food wants. Probably wouldn't go with just my boyfriend, unless I didn't really feel like talking to him over dinner. If I were single, probably wouldn't go here on a date due to the noise factor and that you might have to mill around for quite awhile before getting a table, even if reservations were made.