Eating Out With Kids: Luce

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

THE KID SAYS

First of all, when I was told about this restaurant, I thought I was going to have some pretty good food because I am a fan of spaghetti. I've even learned how to cook spaghetti. You tell if it's done by throwing it against the wall and if it sticks, it's done.

When I first saw the restaurant, it looked like a good and fancy Italian restaurant. Our server was nice. The bread was really good. You dipped it in olive oil with roasted red peppers. I only tried it that way once, and then I mostly ate the bread plain. I ordered salad with Italian dressing and spaghetti with two stuffed meatballs ($9.95). They were huge and delish. The spaghetti was the thick type which means it's good, and they had tasty red sauce. I had ginger ale for a drink.

I almost forgot dessert. I tried basil gelato with cheesecake, olive oil gelato and donut holes. I only liked the donut holes. Kids will not like the olive oil or basil gelato. The adults will. My mom tricked me. She said the basil gelato was mint ice cream. The waitress also brought me a peanut butter snowball. It usually goes with just the kids' menu but they said we could have it. It was heavenly. I would have never thought to put peanut butter with vanilla ice cream, and it had a strawberry sauce under it.

The bathrooms were clean, they were nice and they had music in them, but there was no TV in the bathroom, which is how I prefer it. There was also only one stall and one urinal, but there was a diaper-changing station in the stall.

Yes, I would love to go back and I would want to try the pizza.

--Colin Hawes

THE MOM SAYS

First of all, in my defense, he asked, "Is that like mint ice cream?" and I said, "Sure." He likes pesto, so I thought he'd be intrigued to have the basil in a different form. Well, more for me in the end.

And also for me, this was my kind of a break from cooking duties. I don't know why more non-chain restaurants don't have Sunday dinner service anymore. My husband and I were comparing notes about how, when we were growing up, Sunday dinner out was always a treat. It still is and Luce definitely delivered on that with its Sunday dinner specials (the spaghetti dish and all pizzas are $9.95). Sure, the specials might be somewhat more geared toward the adults (we also got $8 off any bottle of wine!), but it was a really delicious, relaxed meal with a lot of excellent food.

After eating way too much of their salt-crusted house bread, I made it through most of my margherita pizza. Their dough is a little on the chewy side and they could stand to add more basil, but it was still tasty, and next time I'll probably go with the quattro formaggio flatbread that my husband had (it's a pizza-like concoction with a crunchier crust and a killer combo of smooth and tart cheeses).

But dessert was the unexpected highlight of the meal. I don't think Colin realizes it, but his peanut butter snowball came free of charge, probably because we had asked about whether he could still get one, even without ordering off the kids' menu. That was a very nice touch. But then, the grown-up dessert - the dessert tapas plate - wow! Some day once that kid's palate matures a little he will appreciate just how mind-blowingly delicious and well-made everything on that plate was. At $12.50, it was the most expensive dish we had that night, but it was worth it. The donut holes were meltingly hot, right out of the fryer, lightly sugared and served with three types of dipping sauces. And that basil gelato with mascarpone cheesecake and macerated strawberries was inspired, as was the olive oil gelato and bread pudding.

Service was very pleasant. The bathroom was lovely but a bit on the chilly side. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the décor tends toward rustic. Loved it all, I'll definitely expect to be taken back for a Sunday family dinner.

--Jane Hawes