How often have you caught yourself saying, "...not yet, but I keep meaning to try it..." when someone mentions a new or noteworthy restaurant? I catch myself saying it a lot, and on Saturday had to respond with the "not yet, but..." line when a woman I'd just met mentioned how much she liked Lunetta, on Smith Street.
"I've heard great things!" I said. "I keep meaning to try it!" I added. And so, on Sunday afternoon as we reached the past-breakfast-too-late-for-brunch-but-too-early-for-dinner hour, Kevin and I happened to be on Smith Street, happened to be near Lunetta, so I suggested we try it.
We loved Lunetta!
The brunch menu was a mix of small Italian plates, paninis, and egg-oriented dishes. I ordered the sliced meatballs over flat bread, meatballs being a food that I avoided growing up but in the past year or so have begun craving, and Kevin had the eggs "Lunetta" -- poached over spinach, speck and grilled bread with a (I think) red pepper sauce and some hearty roasted potatoes on the side.
But the meatballs were what kept me captivated. I've sampled (and loved) the meatball dishes at Frankies and Bocca Lupo, and I now have a delicious third option. In a pure meatball to meatball comparison, I have to give Frankies the edge, whereas Bocca Lupo wins me over with the sauce and the preparation (served atop grilled Tuscan bread, versus Frankie's bread-less version). Lunetta scores points by tossing the crumbled meatballs with diced tomatoes and serving the mixture over crisp focaccia bread; their version is the least 'saucy' and the only one that allows you to pick up individual pieces of the heaping bread and eat it with your hands. Lunetta's meatballs had spinach and pine nuts in them, which I loved (I am a sucker for the pine nut in all its forms).
The lovely little space was nearly empty so it was hard to gauge the vibe, but the service was friendly and fast, and the kitchen staff was tattooed, attractive and hip. The dinner menu looks especially promising (I have my eye on the branzino with shaved fennel and orange, a favorite combo of mine), as do the wine and cheese lists. I'm anxious to revisit the charming little space, and glad that I can finally answer affirmatively when someone asks me, Have you tried Lunetta...
Lunetta (718 488 6269) is located at 116 Smith Street, between Dean and Pacific Streets, and accepts all major credit cards (I think).