Luna Ristorante Italiano, Concord CA
It’s about time we covered an Italian restaurant. Oftentimes we won’t go to Italian places because Zach will say, “I can cook that same pasta at home but better.” Sometimes, though, you just have to treat yourself. Luna is a warm, quaint ristorante right next to Todos Santos Plaza worth giving a try.
We were so thrilled that the dressing for this Caesar actually had anchovies! It wasn’t a strong flavor, but it makes a big difference for those who enjoy anchovies in a traditional Caesar. The dressing had a light creaminess, but it was really well balanced flavor-wise with the salty and tangy thanks to the anchovies. The romaine was crisp and fresh, and equally fresh was the shredded Parmesan – Zach could tell it was freshly shredded off a block.
At first sight the antipasto seemed like a mess of ingredients. Upon closer inspection, we saw many distinct piles of food: marinated roasted mushrooms, brie with cranberries, marinated artichoke hearts, three bean salad, smoked salmon with capers, roasted peppers, marinated tomato mix, grilled stuffed eggplant with creamy artichoke stuffing, grilled zucchini, and spring greens, all drizzled with an intense balsamic vinegar reduction. The mushrooms were flavorful and tender, the artichoke hearts were high quality and mild in vinegar, the three bean salad had a delicate dressing, the salmon was buttery and smoky, the eggplant was tender but not mushy at all, and the texture of its artichoke stuffing was creamy but still had some good chunks of artichoke.
August got the seafood risotto off the specials menu, with clams, mussels, salmon, prawns, and a scallop. The rice was cooked really well, not gummy or crunchy on either extreme. It had great flavor from the tomato based broth and it had mild seafood flavors, so the rice tasted almost like a cioppino. The seafood was cooked well, nothing overcooked or underdone, and all the seafood pretty much sucked up the flavor of the sauce. If you’re looking for a great seafood dish with an abundance of seafood, this could be a winner for you – if you catch it on the specials menu again.
Another special item: one of our favorite pastas, gnocchi. This one featured bacon, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peas, and a creamy spicy tomato sauce. The gnocchi were tender and fluffy, and a great foundation for the layers of flavors. With little bits of bacon throughout, the sauce had a mild smokiness amidst the creaminess, but then the Italian sausage added chunks to the texture and an array of different spices like fennel (Zach adds that it was nice that there was no gristle in the high quality sausage). There was a balanced amount of sauteed mushrooms to fresh peas. Overall, he really liked this dish.
If you’re looking for hearty Italian food with just a slight gourmet twist, Luna might be it for you.