I always find myself saying that it has "been too long since we visited this place or that," and I must repeat that again as we re-visited A LA LUCIA (www.alalucia.com), Alexandria's bastion of traditional Italian value food located just off the river north of Old Town.
Six of us moseyed in with Samuel in tow last night and I was thrilled to note that there is a 3 course menu regularly for $33.95 PLUS a 25% discount on some wines on Sundays to boot! We started with a small plate of bruschetta, which Samuel kept saying "no" to, but when the plate came round to him at the end with one piece left, he gobbled it up and his eyes rolled with pleasure at the fresh marinated tomatoes and small chunks of mozzarella.
We started with a bottle of FALANGHINA from Terradova di Paolo 2011 that was refreshing and tasty, so much so we had another. It was perfect with the MUSSELS in SPICY WHITE WINE sauce, which is not that spicy, but still has to be mopped up with the tasty focaccia bread. Other starters that were divine were the Grilled SHRIMP with GREEN BEANS, Cherry Tomatoes in Limoncello Dressing. the shrimp are breaded and grilled and juicy as can be. BURRATA with Beets is also great if you adore that irresistible creamy cheese!
We moved on to a DOLCETTO d'ALBA from Marchesi di Gresy "Monte Aribaldo" 2009 that has a hint of residual spice and lots of big fruit. It was perfect with our pasta dish (we ordered this as an extra course over the fixed price, but it can also be part of it) of MUSHROOM RAVIOLI in Truffle Oil and Sage &; Butter Sauce.....divine. Indeed, the pastas at A LA LUCIA are some of the best you will find in this entire area.
We have known our server Debbie from the UK for many years going way back to Galileo where she worked for many years and then came here when Galileo's manager Michael opened A LA LUCIA. The team his is great and the service is impeccable. Our every need was handled and the meal was paced to perfection.
We moved on to a BARBARESCO 2005 Riserva Rio Sordo from Produttori di Barbaresca that breathed for a while and was absolutely smooth and tasty. It was great with most of the main courses, save for perhaps the superb ROCKFISH with Sauteed Fennel in Beurre Blanc (that is on the lighter side). Filet of BEEF in Red Wine Sauce comes with A La Lucia Potatoes and Spinach and I thought this portion was huge until my Grilled VEAL with Parmesan Gratinee, Sage Wine Sauce and Green Beans arrived basically covered the entire oversized plate!
The veal was tender and tasty and it has been also too long since I have had veal as well!
Samuel loved his Spaghetti with Meat Balls &; Meat Sauce.
For desserts we tried the TIRAMISU, PUMPKIN CHEESE CAKE, and the CHOCOLATE CAKE with Ice Cream.
I refrained and went my way for the simple cheese plate of
SOTTOCENERE, MANCHEGO &; GORGONZOLA DOLCE with slices of poached pear.
A sparkling sweet STREVI was a nice touch. Samuel went even lighter simply munching on the mint leaves from one of the plates!
We all went home full promising not to wait so long for our next visit!