My wife Teresa took me for an early Father’s Day dinner at Il Lusso. It is an Italian steakhouse in downtown Tallahassee. It has been our “go-to” place when we want to go out and have someone cook us a steak. With all the craziness over the past few years, we haven’t visited very often. We had planned on going this past New Year’s Eve, but wound up cancelling because a couple of other places closed due to a Covid spike. Even though Il Lusso was going to be open, we decided to err on the side of caution. When Teresa suggested we should go to celebrate Father’s Day, I gave the idea a big thumbs up!
The evening out started off on a real high before we even left the house. Teresa and I have been on a pretty strict diet for the past year. Both of us really got our weight down, but Teresa really exceeded her goals. Because of that, she has been able to wear things from her wardrobe that I had never seen her in. For our “date night” she picked a backless dress that she just looked fabulous in. I was smiling so much, I could have broken glass.
Il Lusso does its reservations through Resy, so it is pretty simple. It looks like they are booked out about two weeks in advance on the weekends right now, so I would plan ahead. We were going to go Saturday, but they only had an opening after 8:30 which was too late for us, so we took a 6 PM slot on Friday night. The restaurant is on Monroe just a few blocks north of the State House. There is lots of metered parking in the area as well as a couple of garages. We have never gone and not been able to park right on Monroe near the restaurant.
We arrived just before six. They had our table waiting. The room is large, very open and bright with lots of glass. Our server, Brittany, came over right after we sat down to introduce herself and see if we wanted anything to drink. We ordered a couple of glasses of Prosecco. They brought us out some focaccia and olives. Both were very good and a great way to kick off the meal.
IL Lusso has some fabulous Piccoli Morsi (small bites) to start your meal. We had ordered the crispy artichoke hearts and fritto misto on earlier visits and enjoyed both. We decided to go with the Crudo del Giorno (Raw of the Day) which was a scallop ceviche prepared with citrus and jalapeno. When it came, it was very visually appealing. The flavors were layered very well. The one comment we made to the staff is that they might want to consider serving it with a crostini to add a bit of crunch to the bite.
For our pasta course, we ordered the Bucatini alla Carbonara. This is a favorite of mine that we have ordered before. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole in the middle. The one that Il Lusso uses are pretty long. The carbonara is made with pancetta, parmesan, english peas, and black pepper cured egg yolk. It is a really decadent dish. It comes in a half-size and full size serving. We ordered the half-size since we were having a lot of food, but I was scraping the bowl at the end looking for more.
For our main course, we ordered the 12oz grass-fed New York strip prepared medium rare. We ordered the Crispy Brussels to go with it. This dish is prepared with smoked tomato and pecorino cheese. Because we were sharing, the chef pre-sliced the steak to make it easier. The steak was cooked perfectly and the crispy brussels had just the right amount of char.
On our first couple of visits to Il Lusso, their dessert menu had a Baked Alaska Tiramisu that was one of the best desserts we have ever had. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been on the menu for a while (hint-hint!!!), but there are some other great choices. Since it is Father’s Day weekend, Teresa let me order the Classic Tiramisu which is my favorite dessert. This is mascarpone, marsala cream, coffee-soaked sponge cake, and cocoa dust. It is served in an ice-cold bowl . Teresa also indulged me by letting me order an Antica Sambuca. She had the San Sebastian Port which is from St Augustine. The dessert was delicious, Teresa really enjoyed her port, and the Sicilian in me was in heaven having the anisette.
Thumbs Up to the Il Lusso Team
The servers at Il Lusso work in pairs. Our team was attentive and responsive. Because we share dishes and eat in courses, they gave us fresh plates and cutlery before serving each dish. We want to thank them and the entire Il Lusso team. They made it a really relaxed and enjoyable meal for our early Father’s Day celebration. If you haven’t tried it and are in the mood for a great steak, we definitely recommend checking it out.
Happy Father’s Day John!
The same to you my friend!