There’s a reason Luciano’s Italian Ristorante & Lounge is known throughout the area as a charming destination for great Italian food. With dishes as good as your Italian grandmother’s, and creative menu items, the restaurant takes “delicious” to the next level. It’s a classic, welcoming restaurant with fine service that guests keep coming back to.
A Visit to Luciano’s
We visited Luciano’s early on a weekday evening and enjoyed a memorable dining experience. We suggest you start off with a craft cocktail. You might even want to relax at the spacious bar for a while before being seated for dinner.
A few of the the tempting drinks include their Screaming Viking with ginger liquor, fresh cucumber, lemon juice, mint, and Hendricks’s gin, or the Billionaire with fresh lemon, pomegranate Grenadine, a dash of absinthe bitters and Baker’s bourbon.The well-curated beverage program also has classic cocktails, an international fine wine list with an emphasis on Italian selections, beer, spirits, after dinner drinks, and specialty coffees.
Meet the Chef
Luciano’s executive chef, Joseph Mastrella, has been with the restaurant since 2008. He is a native of Bayonne and now lives in Wall. His interest in cooking was quite natural, as his father was originally a farmer in Sicily and his mother worked in various kitchens while he was growing up. Mastrella got his first job at just 12 years of age.
After high school, he attended the Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts Program, which prepared him well to begin his career. Prior to becoming the executive chef at Luciano’s, Mastrella worked at the Short Hill’s Hilton, Arthur’s Landing, and the Molly Pitcher Inn among others.
He is proud to lead his team at Luciano’s to an outstanding level of food and service. He commented to Jersey Bites a little about his cuisine style. “When I am creating dishes and developing recipes, I take the inspiration from a classic recipe and give it a simple twist.”
Chef Mastrella has created a menu that will appeal to many tastes and styles. Begin your meal with one of their delightful salads. The pear and mesclun green salad has just the right touch of sweetness, with candied pecans and soft herbs in a sherry emulsion that complements the fresh greens.
Another great starter is the zuppa di mussels with sardinia fregola pearls in a zesty tomato broth. Other tempting appetizers include crisp fried calamari, and the antipasti misto.
When you move onto the main courses, there is a nice selection of traditional favorites that include chicken Parmesan, veal marsala, and chicken piccata. The house specialties are go-to items.
We highly suggest the Sicilian braised short ribs. The tender meat is braised in a rich Madeira-plum tomato sauce served over whipped potatoes with wild mushrooms and a marvelous medley of seasonal vegetables.
Risotto lovers will surely enjoy the Gulf shrimp and crab meat risotto that is seasoned to perfection. The dish highlights the delectable seafood and is prepared with roasted peas, tomatoes, and asparagus, finished with mascarpone and Parmesan. Guests will appreciate that there are also menu selections that are vegetarian, vegan, keto, and gluten free.
The Meal Continues
Customers love the special Wednesday Lobster Night and Friday Steak Night. We were able to sample a menu item created for lobster lovers, lobster bolognese. The tender lobster meat was served with a savory tomato sauce over homemade linguini, cooked of course, al dente.
The Dolce course is a nice way to finish off your meal. The ricotta cheesecake is rich and creamy served with seasonal fruits. Gelato and sorbet, tiramisu, and other scrumptious sweets will delight.
An Eye on Valentine’s Day
Luciano’s Ristorante is offering a special Valentine’s menu that features a three-course menu and dessert, champagne toast, and coffee or tea for $85 per person, plus tax and tip.
1579 Main Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is located in the heart of Rahway’s arts district just a short walk from the city’s train station with convenient parking and valet service.
Pictured at top: Gulf shrimp and papardelle all’Amatriciana, sautéed with sweet onion, pancetta, prosciutto, and fresh basil in a farm house marinara sauce. Photos courtesy of Luciano’s Ristorante.