Photos By Andy DelGiudice, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Beginning this Sunday hungry and fortunate people will be able to brunch in the vision of Chef Fabio Trabocchi. Sorry for the holy imagery, it’s just really, really good Italian food from an Italian chef on a Sunday, so you know, Catholic and stuff.
Casa Luca, the more casual of Trabocchi’s three restaurants (he’s also responsible for Fiola and Fiola Mare so you’re in extremely good hands), will serve a rustic brunch ideal for the person that isn’t afraid of carbs or fish.
Served how Chef Trabocchi grew up, Casa Luca will serve the meal family style, giving your group a chance to share all dishes. This isn’t an Eggs Benedict brunch. This is an familial style meal for more than two.
The carbs. Embrace them. Chef Claudia’s Warm Pastry & Bread Basket is a must order. Executive Pastry Sous Chef Claudia Bruni wants you to share her creations. Do this. Use as much Buffalo’s Milk Butter as you can, not that the pastries need any. The other must on the appetizer section of the menu is the Grilled Country Bread, smoked salmon, buffalo mozzarella stracciatella, roasted red peppers on bread. If you don’t go with someone, you’ll be full before your main course. If you’re OK with filling up before you consider anything with eggs, try the Baccala Fritters. You’re not going to find these creamy cod fritters with spicy citrus aioli anywhere else.
A dish unseen on any other brunch menu is the Anson Mills White Polenta with smoked Penn Cove mussels and tomato sugo finto. Thus far I’ve recommended 3 out of 4 dishes with seafood. Once again, this is not standard brunch fare. If you’re looking for that, the Italian Style Vegetarian Omelette is available. Quite tasty and quite colorful.
But there’s more fish to enjoy so consider. In the Brunch Favorites section of the menu is the Poached Eggs “Frutti di Mare,” two farm eggs, Tiger prawns, Penn Cove museels, Middleneck clams and roasted tomato served with “Shrimp Butter” toasts. I’ll stop recommending fish dishes. There are more options.
The Stromboli, a Sicilian turnover filled with mortadella, rosi prosciutto Roman Sheep’s milk Cacio cheese with tomato sugo finto is so hearty and warm and perfect for sharing. It’s a communal dish that will strengthen the community.
If you’re looking for a classic brunch cocktail, go with the Bloody Mary. The tomato juice is made in house, made with Tito’s and will be even better in warmer months.
We do a lot of these TASTE TESTS. There usually something on the menu worth writing about. Nearly everything on the Casa Luca brunch menu is worth writing about. A week after the meal, going over notes, I’m still thinking about this meal. Why would anyone get eggs benedict when you can get anything on this menu?
Casa Luca is located at 1099 New York Avenue NW. They begin brunch service Sunday, February 22. Brunch hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.