Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Trip to Luciano's... and it might be the last.


I recently got around to trying Luciano's recently. Luciano's is located on the main level of the Falls Center, the space formerly occupied by Food & Fermentation, the Brickhouse, and the Sioux Falls Brewing Company. It's gorgeous space-- open, rustic beams and brick and wood floors. There is also seating available outside with really nice views of the courthouse and the Cathedral. Great place to sit on a nice evening.

Luciano's here in Sioux Falls is an off-shoot of the eatery of similar name in Sioux City. I don't spend much time in Sioux City. Like most people from Sioux Falls I am rather skeptical of almost all things Sioux City and pretty much limit visits there to hitting the occasional concert. But, word on the street is that the Sioux City Luciano's is pretty decent and, hey, the place is new, so gotta give it a try.

Despite the Italian sounding name of the place, the menu is more European than it is Italian. Yes, there is some typically Italian sort of fare, such as lasagna or other pasta dishes, but there are also things like different varieties of schnitzel (complete with German potato salad), and French dishes like Flemish beef. There are also seafood selections.

We started the evening with some antipasti. I love these assortments of meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables. I didn't notice anything particularly "authentic" on the plate, i.e. a good dried sopressata or mortadella or aged provolone, but still, pretty good. Unfortunately, this was the high point.

We'll skip the unremarkable soup. It was unremarkable. Let's get to the main dishes. I had lasagna. This is a dish that I often puzzle how one can screw up. They did. Overcooked pasta. Practically flavorless sauce, odd ricotta/b├ęchamel. And a really flat, poor presentation to top it all off. The Secret Salad Fork had a fish dish- Salmon Wellington. I had a bite that was mostly the mushroom duxcelles and puff pastry. I kid you not, I nearly had to spit it out, it was that bad. That's a new one on me.

Service got a solid C+ for being friendly and somewhat knowledgable. I give the guy credit, he tried. But I didn't want placation or platitudes at that point, I wanted out.

I am told the place does a great job when owner Ray Hoffman is in the house. I hope so. But even then, it is going to take a great deal of convincing to get me back in the place.