Casa Luca is a response to patrons of the chic Fiola who told Fabio Trabocchi they were hungry for something more relaxed. “We love Fiola, but we want to come with our kids,” the chef recalls his customers telling him. Introduced in July, Casa Luca takes its name from Trabocchi’s young son and places diners in a large and light-filled osteria, its walls made personal with family photographs.
Trabocchi comes from a four-star background — the late, great Maestro in Tysons Corner — evinced here by the way he approaches even basic food. Tender meatballs arrive in a copper pan with a glossy tuft of parsley and lemon zest; risotto comes packed with lobster, prawns and fine fish; and grilled lamb shoulder rack, crusty and succulent, is lightened up with wild fennel dipping sauce. Monkfish Milanese may be my favorite main course; its topping of bread crumbs, sunny with lemon zest, is a trick the chef’s father used to get his children to eat fish.
Nice touch: Nearly 20 wines are offered by the bottle for $28. The kitchen can occasionally kill a dish with richness, and some meals are so leisurely paced, you fear lunch is becoming dinner.
But there’s no denying the warmth and hospitality of the team led by the hostess with the mostest, Maria Trabocchi. Even if you don’t order dessert, sweets appear. With luck, they’ll be Maria’s favorite almond chews.