Bon Appetit has published their final list of Best New Restaurants in America“, and one Portland restaurant, Luce made the cut at number 4 on the list of ten. Note: oddly, Luce has been removed from their list without any reason given.
Here is an excerpt:
… Inside the simple all-white storefront, shelves are lined with dried pasta, olive oil, and carefully curated housewares; 22 seats fill out the space. Is it a market? A restaurant? An installation by a local artist? In a way, it’s all three. Luce, as it turns out, is the second restaurant from chef John Taboada and his wife, Giovanna Parolari, who own longtime Portland favorite Navarre. If Navarre’s Italian food is simple, Luce’s is bare-bones, almost monastic in its affinity for stripping dishes down to their essential ingredients. This is Italian home cooking to its core. Just look at the 20 or so antipasti available: farro pie, roasted beets and carrots, arancine, chicken liver crostini, meatballs—each plate only $2. At first glance, the spaghettini with garlic and hot peppers might look like what you made for your teenager as you were running out the door. But after the first bite—silky, with an alluring kick of heat—you’ll find out you were so wrong. …
In the piece, critic Andrew Knowlton wrote about the types of restaurants appeal to him:
- Husband-and-wife owners
- Small dining rooms and even smaller kitchens
- No reservations and no tablecloths
- Counter-side seating around the open kitchen
- Tweezers in the kitchen
- Tattooed cooks, servers, and sommeliers
- Rough-hewn handmade plates
- Record players and random selections of vinyl in the dining room
- Bargain prix-fixe menus
I find it very interesting that the quality of the food doesn’t show anywhere on his list.
Not knowing anyone who has been to Luce, I checked the Reader Choice 2012 list we put together for Best New Restaurant. Luce was at number 34. Best Italian? Didn’t make the cut. This place is seriously flying under the radar. Has anyone been? I’m looking forward to checking it out.