Thursday, January 31, 2008

L'Andana: A Lunch Review

As I recently mentioned, L'Andana is now open for lunch. I stopped by this week to check it out, and see if lunch would be as good as dinner. And I was not disappointed at all.

The lunch menu (which is probably subject to change as they adjust for lunch) has plenty of choices. You can start with a Primi, including small salads, tuna tartare or soup ($7-12). They had three sandwiches, including a BLT (with Pancetta), Open-Faced Panino (with Prosciutto & Mozzarella) or a 10oz Burger ($12-14). The Sandwiches come with french fries. There are 4 Entree Salads, frm Chicken Caesar to Watercress ($12-15).

There are five different Pasta dishes, similar to what they have at dinner ($12-15). You can also order a Chicken Milanese ($17), similar to their dinner Veal Milanese. There are three wood-grilled entrees, including Swordfish, Chicken and Ribeye ($17-19). You can even get an order of their Truffle-Parmesan fries ($7).

It was very quiet on the day we dined there as word about their lunch has not spread yet. Prior to our food arriving, we received their usual warm bread with oil and tomatoes. This is delicious bread though it can be filling. And they are quite willing to bring you more if you want. I was curious whether they would offer their bread for lunch or not and I am very glad that they did.

We ordered some fresh-brewed iced tea (which comes in Green, Black and Crimson Berry flavors). We tried the Green and Black and both were excellent. Though iced tea costs $4, you get a bottomless cup. For someone like me, I can easily drink 4-5 glasses of iced tea.

To start our meal, we split an order of Maccheroncelli ($15), American Wagyu meatballs and pasta in a Chianti sauce with Parmesan. I have had this before and enjoyed it very much. We each received two meatballs with our pasta. And it was as tasty now as it was before. The Chianti sauce is especially compelling, almost like a gravy with a touch of sweetness. The home-made pasta was cooked perfectly and the meatballs were good-sized, moist and flavorful.

For entrees, we tried the Grilled Swordfish ($17) and the Chicken Milanese ($17). The Swordfish was a good-sized piece of fish, topped by a mound of grilled peppers and onions. The fish was fresh and flavorful, white and tender. And the veggies were excellent too. The Chicken was topped with argula, cured tomato and shaved parmesan. It was a large, thin piece of breaded chicken that was very tender. It was large enough that some people might have difficulty finishing it. The breading is very light, almost panko-like. We did have the Truffle fries as well, and they were as crispy and addictive as always.

Overall, this was a delicious lunch from a restaurant that is excelling at what it does. Prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity you receive. They are comparable to the prices for lunch at the Capital Grille. You certainly have plenty of menu options for lunch, including some of their superb pasta dishes. Service was excellent without being overbearing.

I will certainly return there for lunch, and look forward to their new Sunday brunch that will begin on February 10.

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