719 Ryan St. • Downtown Lake Charles • 337.494.5862
I was actually quite hesitant about doing a piece on Luna. Why? Because it seems that everyone has written about the restaurant so many times, what’s left to say?
Owner and head chef Dave Evans has won several culinary awards, including the prestigious title of Louisiana’s Restauranteur of the Year in 2019.
Evans recently acquired the adjacent building, which expanded the overall capacity of the restaurant, and along with the comprehensive remodeling, he has made Luna the anchor in downtown dining for nearly two decades. My wife and I have dined here several times over the years, but what’s one more article, right?
It’s early in the week and my wife and I both had the day off. With not much going on, our daughter suggested we all go downtown for lunch. We walked around a bit. There wasn’t much going on, considering the circumstances COVID has put us under, but we are happy to still be able to get some table time. Now, this is the first time dining here since this all began, and we are well into Phase 2.
Upon entering, we were greeted by the hostess and we asked for a table for three. We were led to the newest portion of the remodeled eatery. Tables were sparsely spread about, with social distancing in effect. The entire staff wore masks, and several people were taking advantage of a weekday opportunity to grab lunch.
The walls boast some of the most eclectic artwork in the area, vibrant in color, with iconic images of an era past.
As our server Abby introduced herself and asked for our drink orders, this was about to set off a string of varied reactions. Daughter with her soda, my wife with her margarita, and then … there’s me.
I wasn’t in the mood for an adult beverage, so, I ordered an iced tea. The glance I received and my wife’s quizzical expression was priceless. It doesn’t end here. While we were all glancing through the menu, I knew I didn’t want to get into burgers and sandwiches, and I actually wasn’t really that hungry.
Abby stayed on top of the drinks, because the tea was going down quickly and I couldn’t get enough. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had just left a pitcher on the table, but she never let me go empty. Daughter ordered Chicken Penelope (formerly known as Chicken Pacetti), my wife ordered the Sun Burger, and myself? I opted for the fried artichoke hearts. This brought about the whole, “what have you done with my husband?” and “are you sick?” questions and reactions from my tablemates.
I’m usually the full meal guy, but today, the artichoke hearts caught my attention. I’m wary of how some restaurants do fried artichoke hearts. I lived in the area of California widely known as the ‘Artichoke Capital of the World’ for a while, and when you have artichoke hearts from the hub, you have the the kind of quality artichokes that have former classmates and friends, who now reside in Arizona, traveling to California regularly for these deep fried gems. Since they shamelessly gloat about these artichokes online, I always strive to find a match. The bar is set high. Very high.
I am so glad I found these. They are hand-battered in a relatively light flour and fried to a crisp exterior, with a nice tender heart and are served with Luna’s cosmic dipping sauce, which I would compare to a kicked up ranch.
This is probably one of the best matches I’ve come across. My wife ordered the Sun Burger, which comes with your standard lettuce, tomato and onion toppings.
By the time she got done with all of her odd facial expressions and subbing ingredients, the burger was anything but its original menu description. After she added blue cheese, grilled onions and avocado, it had taken on a life of its own.
The look of it alone should tell you that it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve never had anything but a good burger here, or any of the food for that matter.
Then, out comes my daughter’s dish, the Chicken Penelope. The aroma from this dish, and the look of it has my mouth watering just thinking about it. This is a juicy grilled chicken breast, topped with sautéed mushrooms and crawfish, the very same artichoke hearts used in my appetizer (without breading) a zesty cream sauce, and then topped with a blend of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, and given a broiled finish.
This is an amazing dish, and if you’re into that whole variety of garlicky, savory flavors, you’re not going be disappointed. As a matter fact, I’m about to go order another one and share lunch with my wife in her office.