Atmosphere: Attractive gaslight club. Casual attire permissible. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday. Price range: $6.50 for lasagna to $14.50 for zuppa di pesce. Reservations: Not a bad idea on Friday and Saturday. Credit cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard. Special Facilities: Easy parking in shopping center lot; accessible to the handicapped; booster seats but no high chairs available; cocktail menu.
Dinner isn't a complete steal at Lucky Luciano's, but you won't have to heist a Brink's truck to pay your bill there. And what you eat will be worth the money.
On a rainy Sunday night we went to this southern Italian restaurant, located in a shopping center on Rt. 450 just above the intersection with Rt. l301. We were with our 10-year-old girls, who kept making it plain that they would prefer to eat pizza in front of the TV rather than drive anywhere in the drizzle.
On a miserable night, in that kind of company, Lucky Luciano's is a comforting place to enter. Although we didn't have to knock three times or say who sent us -- in fact, the front doors stood open -- but Lucky's is decorated like a classy speakeasy in warm reds and golds with ceiling fans and flickering candles. Oversized photos of the likes of Humphrey Bogart dominate the walls and a huge brass cappuccino machine dominates the rear of the restaurant. N attractive wooden divider separates a handsome bar from the main dining area.
The menu does not mention children's dishes. But when we asked our waitress, she said the girls could order fish and chips or spaghetti dinners for $3.50, or split a regular dinner between them.
That made all the pasta dishes, priced between $6.50 and $7.95, quite reasonable for them. One wanted to share lasagna, but no, said her sister, she wanted to share fettuccine alfredo. Neither of them wanted cannelloni, and they wrinkled their noses over tortellini. Finally they agreed not to agree, so they could not share. Both ordered fish and chips.
I ordered calamari napoletana, $8.50, and my husband decided to try veal parmigiana, $9.95, since the menu offered several of the typical Italian veal preparations: marsala, fiorentina and saltimbocca. We asked for side dishes of spaghetti, but could have chosen instead roasted potatoes and vegetable.
Our waitress arrived with warm crusty italian bread and the salads that accompany adult entrees. The girls fell to on the bread. The salads were a standard combination of greens, pepper rings and tomato in an adequate house dressing that was somewhat diluted because the greens had not been dried thoroughly.
The fish and chips platters looked fairly ordinary, but the girls thought they were great, and suddenly the whole outing seemed to have become a pretty good idea. My husband and I thought so, too. The italian dishes were really fine.
The calamari dish consisted of a huge platter of tender squid served in tomato sauce with wine, garlic and oregano. It was good and quite piquant, although I preferred the lighter, sweeter sauce that accompanied my side dish of spaghetti.
The veal parmigiana dish also consisted of a large serving of lightly crusted and sauteed meat, smothered but not drowned in a fine tomato sauce and melted provolone.
For dessert, we were offered amaretto cheeesecake, creme caramel, tortoni and cannoli. The girls decided not to order dessert, but we asked for cannoli, $1.50, and tortoni, $1.25. Lucky's makes it own cannoli crusts. Freshly filled, it was as crisp and light as any we have eaten. The tortoni also was rich, creamy and delicately laced with rum.
The quality of the food made the $34.94 (tax and tip included) seem reasonable.