Steak Quest: Luccheses joins the group of finalists
Posted: 10/10/2011 at 1:15 am
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$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Simplicity is the secret to the steak at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, which is a finalist in Steak Quest.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$
Truth Photo By Marshall V. King
$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Steaks at Peterson’s Steak & Seafood House in Goshen get a dose of the Peterson family’s blend of seasonings.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$
Truth Photo By Marshall V. King
Steve Jobs helped teach us that with a few simple things that changed the world.
And sometimes, simplicity can produce something that tastes amazing.
Zach Lucchese, executive chef at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, 655 C.R. 17, Elkhart, is doing just that.
Before he or a staff member put a steak on the grill, it gets a dose of salt, pepper and olive oil.
No secret ingredients.
Just the basics on a good piece of meat, grilled on a gas charbroiler and sent to the table.
The goodness of the simple seasoning doesn’t surprise me. The reality is that some places underseason their steaks. Lucchese’s doesn’t. And it makes for a great steak.
The restaurant purchases beef from Sysco from cattle that ate a balanced pH feed that in turn naturally tenderizes the meat, Lucchese said. The restaurant hand-cuts its rib eyes and sirloins from larger cuts. “Actually, I think it’s better than most choice,” he said.
The rib eye is listed as a 14-ounce cut, but it’s sometimes larger. The filet is an 8-ounce cut. A trotter filet is prime sirloin. With soup or salad on the side and sauteed mushrooms, the rib eye is $19 and the filet $28. The sirloin is $17.
If you go “black and blue,” you get the rib eye over a bed of risotto with a sauce made from bacon, onions, mushrooms, bleu cheese, balsamic vinegar and cream for $21. You can also get an Italian preparation on the filet with vinegar and peppers. The sauce, which I got on the side, is rich and hearty as well and combines some of my favorite flavors.
The steak has a lot of flavor from the seasoning and grilling. Mine was perfectly cooked to medium rare.
This steak was without question a finalist for the best steak in Elkhart County (five out of five stars). Both the filet and rib eye were flavorful and tender.
Lucchese’s doesn’t give you two sides with a steak order. But the value is still pretty good.
I’ve known the Lucchese family a long time and its members are dear friends. I still miss the old location, which was torn down recently. But that wasn’t why on this night, my steak was magic. Zach just cooked a great steak.
The restaurant sells a number at its location on C.R. 17. I’m betting it’ll sell a few more as people give them a try.
By Nov. 1, the restaurant will be using Hawaiian red salt and cracked pepper from S.A.L.T. Sisters, a local spice company. Zach, like his grandfather John, likes to buy local when he can.
I liked the Lucchese’s steak (five out of five stars) because it was well-seasoned, but not overseasoned.
At Peterson’s Steak & Seafood House, 2476 Kercher Road, Goshen, the steaks aren’t heavily seasoned. They get a dose of the Peterson family’s blend of seasoning salt, garlic and a few other spices, said Susan, who owns and operated the business with her husband, Roger.
The steaks are hand-cut and cooked over hickory smoke.
They’re served on old sizzling steak platters in a lovely historic house on the south side of Goshen. The fried fish at this restaurant is really good. The steak is average, but a really good value.
I couldn’t taste much of the hickory smoke and my rib eye was a little tough. I also thought it needed a bit more seasoning. The filet was tender, but again didn’t have a lot of seasoning. All the steaks were properly cooked.
The steaks were under $20 with two sides. I got a sweet potato and green beans, much as you could at Texas Roadhouse. But it’s a very different environment to eat it in. There are no peanuts on the floor at Peterson’s.
The steaks at Peterson’s were good, but not great (three out of five stars).
A couple of places are left on Steak Quest. So far, the finalists are Heinnie’s, Miles Lab and Lucchese’s.
Before it’s over, you’ll get a chance to vote on which place you like and I’ll announce my winner in a few weeks or so.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
• A chili cook-off is being planned as part of the Oktoberfest in downtown Elkhart on Saturday. Pillars of Elkhart and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County will have a variety of events. The cook-off will have around 10 participants, including restaurants and the Elkhart Fire Department, according to Patrizia Staltari of Pillars. For a $5 donation, you can taste all the chilis and vote for your favorite. I’ll also be a judge at the event.
• Greater Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 1829 Oakland Ave., Elkhart, will have a barbecue sale Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until they run out each day. Ribs, tips and chicken will be available. Look on the Dining A La King Facebook page this week for a chance to get free tickets.
•The Goshen Farmer’s Market Film Series will show “Forks over Knives” at 7 p.m. Friday in the Old Goshen Theater, 216 S. Main St. Admission is $3. The movie examines the claim that most diseases could be controlled or reversed if we’d stop eating animals and processed foods. I haven’t seen the movie yet.
• Goshen Farmers Market, 212 W. Washington St., Goshen, will have a harvest celebration from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Giveaways, music and refreshments will be part of the event.
• Reader Jennifer C. is looking for a restaurant in Elkhart County that serves shrimp-n-grits. Any suggestions?
• Cristano’s Take-n-Bake Pizza, 2809 Ferndale Road (on C.R. 15, next to IHOP) can accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds after being approved by the state. The business makes and sells pizzas to be baked at home.
• McCarthy’s on the RiverWalk is serving a TaTa-Tini this month. A dollar will be donated from every purchase to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, according to general manager Rochelle Gubi-Maddux.
• Hooters in Mishawaka was to close this past weekend, according to several reports by South Bend media last week. The location opened in 2003 and declining sales led R.M.D. Corp. to close the location, according to Heidi Prescott of the South Bend Tribune.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at email@example.com, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/DiningALaKing.