Casa Luca – Fabio Trabocchi’s Family Affair

Word travels fast in food circles. When a new restaurant comes on the scene, particularly one by a James Beard Award-winning chef who already operates Fiola, one of the District’s most popular Italian restaurants, people notice. After being open for less than two months, Fabio Trabocchi’s Casa Luca is already bringing in the crowds. That vote of confidence is well deserved. Not only is Casa Luca a beautiful space filled with warm family touches, the service is impeccable, and the food is outstanding. Hurry before you will need a White House pass to nab a reservation.

barTrabocchi was born and raised in Le Marche, located in the central area of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. In interviews, he has talked about growing up in Le Marche and being greatly influenced by his father, Giuseppe, a farmer who loved to cook. If the dishes featured at Fiola showcase what is served in the region’s fine restaurants, Casa Luca highlights what was served at Trabocchi’s family table.

Casa Luca is all about family.

photosTrabocchi named the restaurant after his young son, Luca, who, we were told, is already interested in food. Our waiter proudly pointed out to us a black and white photograph of Giuseppe on a motor cycle, one of several lining the walls in the main dining room.

lampsThe beautiful glass lighting fixtures were hand made in Mayorga, Spain, where Fabio’s wife, Maria, is from. Other light fixtures are made from rustic-looking linens produced in a factory owned by the Trabocchi family in Le Marche. These white and red linens also hang from the walls, resembling dish towels that might have been used in the Trabocchi family kitchen.

Settled into such a comfortable environment, we were ready to enjoy the wine and food. Casa Luca serves several Donna Laura wines on tap, including Prosecco, which arrived with proper effervescence.

prosciuttoAll the dishes on the menu can be shared, a bonus allowing us to sample many more of the restaurant’s offerings. We began with a plate of Mangalitsa prosciutto, known for its sweet taste and creamy fat, served with horned-shaped biscuits. It’s often said that Mangalitsa prosciutto comes from the gold standard of pigs. Certainly what we enjoyed at Casa Luca more than fit that description. The prosciutto was silky, fragrant, not overly salty, the generous fat complimenting rather than overpowering the meat.

tomatoThe heirloom tomato salad was bursting with both color and flavor. The bright red tomato was placed in a generous pesto sauce and topped with slices of mozzarella.

breadCasa Luca does not serve bread baskets. Instead, guests may choose from several pane della Marche. We chose the Marche classic cheese bread served with buffalo butter. Heaven! The bread was golden on the outside, cheesy on the inside and went perfectly with the tomato salad.

gnocchiWe shared a half order of the smoked potato gnocchi with classic duck ragu and cremini mushrooms. Although this hearty dish is perhaps better enjoyed in cold weather, we couldn’t resist ordering it. The gnocchi were light and we were glad we still had some of the bread left to dip into the rich sauce.

monkFor a main course, we shared the Pescatrice Milanese, lightly breaded monkfish served with artichokes, dill, and lemon. Although not the most attractive of fish, the monkfish is indeed tasty.

filetOur waiter displayed the whole fish before expertly filleting it and dividing it between us.

beansAs a side dish, we enjoyed Controne beans in tomato sauce.

cheeseSince we had not finished our glasses of Donna Laura Sangiovese, we opted for a cheese course, Parmigiano Bufala Gran Delitia.

dessertSicilian Cassata, Pistachio and Orange Semifreddo, Vanilla Meringue, with Strawberry-Campari Sorbetto was a refreshing end to the meal.

Fabio Trabocchi planes to open Fiola Mare in Georgetown sometime soon. We can’t wait. But in the meantime, we have two fabulous restaurants to enjoy, Fiola and Casa Luca.

Casa Luca
1099 New York Avenue NW
202-628-1099

About Charlene Giannetti (905 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "19 Daniel Highway," focusing on the opioid crisis that will be filmed in 2019. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.

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