Lucca is at the corner of 16th and J and, according to its website, "offers a California ~ Mediterranean influenced menu with reasonably priced, recognizable menu choices, graciously served in a classy, comfortable setting." The only other time I've been there I could have sworn I had a pretty good, basic Italian meal, which is of course Mediterranean, but to me Mediterranean food is different from Italian food. Somehow. So I'm not sure if Mediterranean in Lucca's mind is generic for the area or if I'm confused or I had Italian food somewhere else.
Anyway. Beyond this, my clearest memory of my dinner at Lucca was of a painting of a giant blue duck. Or goose, because I wasn't clear on my ornithology until M told me I needed to look at its bill. And, based on its bill, the waterfowl in question was apparently a goose*. And it greeted us when we arrived.
Fridays at Lucca there's a sort of happy hour like special called "burgers and bottles" where all burgers are $7 and selected bottles of wine are $12. It was perfect for us. At that price wine is basically cheaper than soda, and $7 burgers at an actual restaurant are the quite the deal.
We all ordered burgers of various permutations, though I think most of us got cheeseburgers with bacon since the price was the same no matter the add-ons. The white cheddar used had some sort of proper name that I didn't bother to write down. There were three kinds of French fries available as a side (garlic, Spanish and again I've forgotten the third option, but no one picked it) (though M got onion rings) and everyone at the table but me split a bottle of the $12 wine.
The food was certainly attractive when it arrived. The French fries were in paper cones nestled in glasses, and everything smelled great. My appetite at least had been piqued by the fact that it took a fair while for the food to arrive and we'd walked a good way to get there:
M said the bun-to-burger ratio was fine, which was a good sign. The burgers were moist enough, but not terribly flavorful. But then D said his fries were "dusty," which I had to agree with. I ordered Spanish fries and I'd chalked the dryness up to all the paprika, but they really weren't great. G, who loves fries, ordered the garlic ones, shared them around the table, and still had half a serving left at the end of the meal.
And overall... well, there just wasn't a lot said. The wine (deemed "quaffable" by D) was much more a topic of conversation, which isn't a good sign when the point of getting together is to eat burgers. [As an aside, D was on quite the linguistic tear. He also used the word "fey" at one point, but I don't remember the context now. Here's the quotable D, hiding behind his napkin.]
I thought my burger was basically fine and gave it a B, but I tend to prefer low-end burgers to high-end ones, so I figured I just wasn't the best barometer. But apparently not, because as votes were cast at the meal's end, Lucca earned just a B- overall. Not stellar.
Which I guess since it's really a Mediterranean restaurant (whatever that means) shouldn't be surprising. But I don't think I'd walk all those blocks again for a bargain burger on a Friday afternoon.
* My post originally said this was a duck. Not because M doesn't know the difference but because I can't keep them straight even when I'm specifically told.