One of the best places in town to get the best bang for your buck is Luca’s. For those of you living under a rock, Luca’s is on Nott Street past Richmond. Luca’s head chef and owner, Lukas and I had a long talk about Luca’s culinary secrets and unique approach.
Q: How would you classify the type of food that you serve?
A: We serves an eclectic mix of American, Greek, Italian and Mexican fair. We like to think of ourselves as gourmet fast food. You can get it on-the-go, and you never have to wait too long for eat-in or delivery.
Q: Something that I think differentiates Luca’s from the rest is your fried food. How do you get those fries so crispy?
A: Well, at Luca’s the most important thing to us is getting high grade potatoes. Using lower grade potatoes just results in a much lower quality product. In terms of cooking them, we have a two-stage frying process. First, we fry them almost all the way through to remove all the moisture from the potato. Then, we let them cool, before we fry them for a second time. That second fry is the secret to getting that crispy bite. Unfortunately, I have to keep how long we fry them for a secret. Finally, we season the twice-fried French fries with salt, pepper, garlic, and parmigiana cheese.
Q: What about the chicken wings?
A: We use a similar twice-cooking method for the wings. First, we par-bake them in the oven to cook them all the way through, pulling out about half off the moisture. But, we are very careful not to overcook them in the over—then they just get rubbery. No one wants a rubbery chicken wing. After letting them rest, we fry them to get that crispy exterior. This combination provides a juicy, tender, and crispy wing.
Q: You have a wide range of dynamic sauces, like mango habanero, sweet chili, and even PB&J. Where do you get your inspiration for these wings and how do you make them?
A: Basically, my wife and I see lots of cool food combinations when we go out to eat. Based on what we see, we experiment in our kitchen until we get the flavors we are looking for. It’s all trial and error. Also, we pay very close attention to what our consumers are saying. If a lot of them request something new, we’ll do our best to accommodate it to on our menu. We are constantly updating our menu in response to demand. In regards to making the sauce, there are two keys. First, it is important to strike the perfect balance of flavors. For the honey Sriracha, we experimented continuously until we got the perfect ratio of sweet to heat. The second key is to let the sauces sit for a while to let the flavors intermingle with each other.
Q: You mentioned that you are constantly changing the menu. What should customer’s expect in the future.
A: We are excited to announce several new updates. First, we are in the process of creating a new menu that includes breakfast sandwiches. Also, we are awaiting approval for a beer and wine license.