Date Night - Week 19: Luma Restaurant
Tucked away on a shaded corner of Castle Shannon Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon, Luma Restaurant is one of the South Hills’ hidden treasures.
We passed Luma on the random drive last week that landed us at Carbonara’s and made a mental note to go back when they were open. (They’re closed Sundays, but open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.) So glad we kept this place on the radar!
Luma is modern — the lighting is dim and tables are candlelit; black panels on the walls are backlit with different colored light, and the sliding doors to the bathrooms are both chic and space-saving. There’s outdoor seating behind the restaurant, hidden from street view and shaded by big, leafy trees — I can’t wait to test out their lunch menu out there this summer.
We, however, were there for dinner, and seated in the corner next to the kitchen, which unfortunately was a bit busy and loud. Ours, however, looked like the only less-than-ideal seating location. Behind the wall-sized wine rack separating the foyer from the dining room, a few tables are tucked in along the wall, intimate and private.
That night, several tables were pushed together in the middle of the room for a larger party who was welcoming guests from France. Luma advertizes rental options for events such as showers, birthdays, graduations or rehearsal dinners, and the uniqueness and intimacy of the space would be perfect for such a gathering.
Jeremy was impressed by Luma’s wine list, and started off the evening with a glass of one of the house wines, the Canyon Oaks Cabernet. I was way more excited about their signature cocktails, and debated between the Island Berry Mint Tea ($6.50) and the Summer White Sangria ($7.50) — I settled on the sangria — a “secret blend” of chardonnay, fresh juices, and mango, peach, and raspberry spirits. For a few minutes, I left dreary, dreary, Pittsburgh for a beach in Spain…
If only. But my sangria was delicious – sweet and light and fruity. For mojito and margarita lovers, there are plenty of options for you as well – mango, pomegranate, blackberry, and crème brulee in particular caught my eye.
The appetizer list alone sets the stage for Luma’s distinctive menu. Jeremy’s Zucchini Roulade ($8) featured rolled zucchini slices filled with Italian ham and fresh basil and mozzarella, and was served with a side of marinara. My baked brie ($9) was glazed with apricot jam and wrapped in a puff pastry before being baked to a golden brown and was served alongside slices of apples and fresh-baked bread. Excessive? Perhaps. But worth every calorie. This dish made my meal.
I was told to try to the pumpkin ravioli, but it wasn’t on the current menu — not surprised, as it’s generally more of a fall dish. I opted instead for the Vegetarian Delight ($16) — layers of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, red onion and Portobello covered in melted mozzarella, served with Greek spanakopita (spinach pie) and drizzled with honey balsamic. (Oddly, this dish shares the same title as the meal I regularly order from my neighborhood Chinese restaurant when I don’t feel like cooking.) The fat slices of tomato and zucchini were grilled to perfection and the balsamic was the perfect compliment to the meal.
Jeremy ordered the Kansas City Filet Mignon, served with a side of vegetables and mashed potatoes ($33). His center-cut filet, char-grilled with caramelized Spanish onions, was impressively simple – a quality piece of meat ideally cooked and served. The steamed vegetables and potatoes complimented the dish.
In 2007, the Pittsburgh Tribue Review voted Luma as “Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhood Restaurant.” It’s certainly one of our Date Night bests, and absolutely worth a visit. We’re looking forward to using our Groupon from last week to come back and check out the lunch menu!
Apologies, as well, for the dark pictures — the lighting was dim and a flash was too obvious!