Every neighbourhood likes to have things they call their own; the corner deep that’s run by a cute family, the big fat stray cat that everyone seems to feed and that guy who reserves parking spot on the street with a folding chair after digging his car out after a snowstorm. But none of these will ever measure up to the one thing that every neighbourhood loves to call their own, their “restaurant du quartier.” I visited Luciano Trattoria – located in Petit-Partie – one afternoon for lunch with a friend who was moving to China. She was back in town packing up the rest of her apartment before the big move and needed to fill an Italian meal void she’d been having ever since she went to China.
The menu at Luciano is simple and traditional made with market fresh ingredients, classic trattoria fare. We started with the insalata; bitter strips of endive spiked wit a splash of rum, tossed with chives, raisins and pistachios. Each bite was light and was a clinic in textures.
The fregola was fregoling delicious. Generous chunks of braised veal osso bucco with an undertone of white wine was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was served atop toothsome pearls of (fregola) pasta.
The meatballs were a dream. Served with an amazing tomato sauce topped with grana padano, I could have eaten these by the bucketful.
We also ordered the five mushroom ravioli served with butter, sage and topped with panado. As much as it was delicious, I was a bit disappointed at the inconsistency of the filling; the raviolis ranged from being plump, to deflated scattered with mushroom fragments. The dish was great, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that each ravioli had me feeling different emotions.
The creme brûlée was creme brûlée – creamy but could have used a bit more brûlée-ing.
Eating around the city, I’ve encountered so many quaint little eateries that serve the neighbourhood. Place where locals walk in and are greeted by name and where “the usual” actually means something and exists outside of movies and tv shows. I had the opportunity to experience this recently, although I wasn’t a local nor was I greeted by name, but with genuine smiles and what seemed like familiar faces, I felt amongst friends.
1212 St-Zotique Est