In a nation where restaurants shutter at an alarming rate, it's nice to see one thriving after four years. (The oft-quoted figure of 90 percent going under after 12 months is thought to be way too high, although the recession will no doubt have caused the more realistic 25 percent rate to go up.)
The restaurant in question is Lucca, in Irvine. It's marking the big day next Wednesday, August 26, at 6 p.m., with a lavish celebratory dinner (reservations required).
Okay, it does cost $85 per person (plus tax and tip), but for that you get five courses of Italian fare paired with wines from Allegrini Vineyards in Italy. As always, the grub has been chosen by owner Cathy Pavlos, and the wines by her husband and co-owner, Elliott.
Representatives from the vineyard will be discussing each wine in detail.
As Cathy points out, "Because of the high quality of the wines--two of which are more than $100 a bottle (and which scored 93 points in Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate)--we knew the food had to be above par, so we didn't scrimp anywhere."
Here's the full rundown:
Lobster bisque with crab crostini. Paired with Allegrini Soave 2007
Selection of handmade charcuterie platters: La Quercia-Salumi-Fra Mani-Creminelli. Paired with Allegrini Valpolicella 2007
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Duck confit and wild organic mushroom risotto. Paired with Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2005
Chocolate nib and black peppercorn crusted Black Canyon filet mignon, with mascarpone, polenta, chocolate-port wine reduction and asparagus. Paired with Allegrini Amarone 2003
Petite gorgonzola di guffanti caseificio cheesecake with local strawberries, in a balsamic reduction. Paired with Giovanni Allegrini Recioto 2001