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Experience quality modern Italian cuisine at Lucco Cucina + Bar

Flavored Italian classics meet a contemporary touch including New York style pizza and hand-made pasta in this sleek and open cucina by the reputable Park Restaurant Group.

Rigatoni Bolognese from Lucco Cucina and Bar in Florham Park, New Jersey by Foodist @foodisteats

“Sono pieno come un uovo” (Italian). English translation: I’m full as an egg. I felt as much after my resplendent first meal at Lucco Cucina + Bar. The Italian restaurant, which opened its doors May 2018 in Florham Park, New Jersey, is operated by the Park Restaurant Group which also owns established restaurants Pizzeta Enoteca (Livingston), Pizzeta Cafe (Millburn), Landmark Tavern (Livingston), and The Hills Tavern (Millburn).

The dining hall and bar area at Lucco Cucina + Bar in Florham Park, NJ

My First Enchanting Encounter

I arrived at Lucco and entered a spacious dining hall with floor to ceiling fireplace and sizable 24-seat white marble bar. My companion waited for me, already seated in brown leather padded seats with the outside patio in view and with a bottle of sparkling water already opened at the table. We are both eager for our Thursday afternoon lunch at Lucco which we traveled about 15 minutes from nearby to try.

Once both seated we are greeted by a friendly and conversational waitress who takes our drink orders and tells us a bit about the menu. Since this is our first time here we ask her what she recommends and she admits the homemade Lucco meatballs ($12) are quite good for starters. This being our first time we wanted a sampling of a few different dishes so we agree to the meatballs and then proceed to order from there. My dining companion orders the 12-inch white clam pizze ($15). I order the rigatoni bolognese ($19) and a side of bread and olive oil for the table. A heavy but indulgent lunch lies ahead.

We sit for a little less than 5 minutes, admiring the modern and newly built interior and talking until the Lucco meatballs arrive. Now the real enjoyment begins!

Lucco Meatballs ($12) with pomodoro sauce, parmigiano

Two Lucco meatballs arrive (wouldn’t mind if we got a few more for $12) with pomodoro red sauce, sprinkled with parmigianoreggiano cheese. They are moist and oh-so-flavorful. I recommend the Lucco meatballs as a starter.

Some more time passes and the main course arrives. First, one 12-inch New York style clam pizze which visually is incredible. It is set down on a small stand at the table that is elevated enough where the aroma of the hot pizza is penetrating my nose. I enjoy the smells of fresh pizza and Italian herbs. 

12-inch Clam Pizza ($15)

Just enough saltiness from the clam pizza with cheese and herbs. The crust is thick, seasoned, and tasty. The pizza is cut into 8 slices and we quickly devour 4 between the two of us. These 12-inch pies are large enough for two or three otherwise you’ll have leftovers. 

Last but not least I move on to the rigatoni bolognese I ordered. I am a strong proponent of al dente pasta that is firm to the bite and this was exactly that. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the bolognese was outstanding with clumps of beef and ample savory flavor. There is plenty of pasta here that I am unable to totally finish.

After our meals, we are amply full but nevertheless decide to look at the dessert menu per the advice of our waitress. We let her know we are fans of gelato and to our great pleasure she lets us know there is an assortment of gelato flavors to choose from. Before we could settle on some gelato we notice they offer Italian affogato as well. This Italian dessert is a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped (“drowned”) with a shot of hot espresso and whipped cream. We are even bigger fans of affogato and choose to get one for each of us. We wait in anticipation for our afternoon dessert. 

Italian Affogato Dessert

The affogato arrives and looks absolutely scrumptious. I slowly press into it with my spoon cutting through the whipped cream then the hot espresso and finally pressing into the more firm gelato waiting at the base. I lift my spoon and take a bite. The cold gelato and hot espresso enter my mouth and I – if only for a minute – transport to another heavenly place. The espresso is strong and the gelato is cool, creamy and sweet. I quickly devour my dessert and sit back in bliss. I am well pleased.

My first trip to Lucco Cucina will be remembered as one of the more remarkable contemporary Italian meals I’ve had in recent memory. Given its close proximity to my weekly commute path, I start to make plans as to when I shall return next to conquer more!

My Second Visit

Given the success of my first trip to Lucco I return back again a few weeks later for another Lunch. This time on Friday.

This time I decide to order the cheese ravioli ($18). My other companions order the eggplant parmesan and the 12-inch margarita pizza.

Our food arrives after some short time and conversation and I dig into my cheese ravioli. The ravioli, like the rigatoni bolognese, is perfectly al dente and crafted nicely. The sauce is on the lighter side but the ravioli is moist and sprinkled in grated cheese and herbs. I wouldn’t mind a few more ravioli also. All in all the pasta which I was hoping for did not disappoint.

Cheese Ravioli ($18)

My two other companions enjoy the eggplant parmesan and the margarita pizza.

Given my two highly enjoyable trips to Lucco Cucina + Bar I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone craving contemporary Italian cuisine. The pasta here is prepared and executed well. The pizza is unique and has enough variety to please a wide array of guests. The large bar makes the restaurant also a suitable event space and happy hour spot. I look forward to my future encounters at Lucco and hope you take the time to experience it for yourself first hand!

I created the video below which was shared on my Facebook and Instagram pages and documented my first trip to Lucco Cucina + Bar. Please enjoy.

This is the most superb spot to enjoy elegant Italian cuisine. From delicious pizza to perfectly cooked pastas Lucco Cucina + Bar left me amply satisfied and craving for more! Can’t wait for my return trip. ?? #njeats #njrestaurants #italianfood #newrestaurant #foodblogger #foodie #foodporn #pasta #pizza

Posted by Foodist on Friday, August 17, 2018

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