As one Lu leaves our lives, another one enters and it seems only fitting that new Lu bring in its wake delicious pasta dishes that are innovative, stylish, and yet simply rustic. And what better way is there to mend the hearts of hockey fans the city over than to drown your sorrows in plate after plate of heart-warming noodles.
No one ever said the path to happiness would be easy, but with Luigi by our side, we will survive.
Railtown Vancouver – an industrial neighbourhood that’s been gaining a lot of buzz these days – is the home to Ask for Luigi, and crossing over from Gastown feels a lot like strolling straight into Brooklyn. Not many do quaint and charming like Brooklyn, but Luigi nails it when he has you thinking you’ve discovered a secret residential hideaway.
Secret it is not as any Vancouverite will be quick to correct you, with a steely glint of derisive judgment in their eye, that Ask for Luigi has been the talk of the town for a year now.
At first glance, it’s no mystery as to why the lineups for the eatery have reached notorious status. It’s tiny. I’m talking ten tables tiny. As soon as you have your name down on that list, they don’t hesitate to advise you to take a walk as you wait for their phone call.
I’m about to drop an important tip so stay with me.
Skip the leisurely neighbourhood stroll and run, don’t walk, to the nearest watering hole of choice. If you’re anything like me, nothing sours a lovely meal out like an extended wait period that has you thinking you might just be on the verge of malnourishment. For these moments, we find salvation in alcohol.
Arriving at Luigi’s slightly before 6:30, we make our way to Chill Winston for a big glass of wine. Forty five minutes later and feeling invincible, we waltz into Luigi’s to see a cozy table waiting for us.
Warmly lit and intimate, dining at Luigi’s with it’s old-timey checkered theme is a bit like dining at your mom’s – if your mother is Italian, comforting, and can cook up a mean plate of piping hot pasta.
A small menu of select antipasti, pasta, and dessert items makes our job easy peasy tonight – bone marrow and escargots, pappardelle & duck ragu, and tagliolini, spicy sausage, & roasted peppers.
The bone marrow with an escargot, celery, carrot, and onion topping is easily the best part of my meal. So wonderfully warm and buttery, it took me almost a full hour to stop raving about this dish. The way the savoury escargot mixture both paired with the marrow and helped to cut the richness is like having Thanksgiving in your mouth.
Pappardelle and tagliolini arrive with a blaze of colour and fresh ingredients. Modest portions, cooked to a perfect chewy al dente, and tossed with just enough sauce to pack each bite with a world of punch, we polish off every last strand.
Simple in its design, the pappardelle is dressed in a flavourful tomato sauce with shredded duck throughout and topped with parmesan and basil. Carnivorous as I am, the duck detracted from the flow of the dish and as appalled as I am to say this, I would have preferred my pasta sans duck.
Tagliolini,with its refreshing roasted peppers and crumbled Italian sausage, is the winner tonight. Even with my usual distaste for Italian sausage, this pasta made a lover out of me.
Happy and pasta bloated, would I return?
SÌ Bella! Perhaps on the slightly pricier side with our pasta coming in at almost $20 per dish, the simple yet luscious dishes with its rustic down-home vibe has me under its spell.