There’s something to be said about eating something you’ve had maybe a thousand times only to feel like you’re eating it for the first time. This is how I felt sampling two different pizzas from Luca’s Ristorante, or rather their “Neapolitan brick oven artisan pizza” affiliate, LucAndréa Bettola. Both of which are discretely tucked away in a nondescript strip mall on Route 27 in Somerset, NJ.
I’ve lived within walking distance of Luca’s for almost two years and driven past it dozens of times. I’m pretty sure people have even recommended it, but until a few months ago I simply hadn’t taken the time to check it out. My girlfriend and I walked over to pick up some pasta to binge on while binge-watching Master of None (it seemed appropriate…love you pasta.), but that’s a whole other post in and of itself. Spoiler alert: everything was just as incredible as Master of None S2.
This unassuming gem is the brain child of Chef Andrea Di Meglio, Best Chef in America nominee in both 2014 and 2015. Just perusing the menus of both the main restaurant and the brick oven pizzeria you can tell he treats every thoughtful dish with love and artful dedication.
On our second traipse to an Italian trattoria so close I could literally throw a stone to it, we decided to sample some of their brick oven pizzas. At twelve inches they can certainly be considered a “personal pie” (though any pizza is a personal pizza if you believe in yourself) so we decided to sample two. The classic “Margherita” with organic tomato sauce, basil, organic extra virgin olive oil, and imported fior di latte fresh mozzarella, and the mouthwatering “Fungo” with truffled mushrooms, ricotta, herbs, and again the imported fior di latte fresh mozzarella.
As I mentioned above, these two pizzas were so lovingly crafted, so perfectly cooked with just the right crunch on the crust, and so artfully prepared with the freshest ingredients, it was truly like tasting pizza for the first time.
Both were devoured fresh and hot, seconds were consumed later while cold, and leftovers reheated over the next few days (in the oven because pizza this good deserves better than the microwave). Each time was a different experience and each time was as delicious as the very first bite.
Living in the NJ/NY/CT tri-state area I’ve been spoiled by some of the best pizza in the country and can confidently say that from now on whenever I’m home I will never order pizza from another local spot….unless I’m too hungover to pick it up (please deliver me to Luca’s I’m literally a three minute walk).
Needless to say, I’m blessed to have such a diamond in the rough literally in my own backyard, and although I’ve never been in for a full meal, it won’t be long. Oh and did I mention it’s BYOB? So be sure to bring some great Italian reds with you and keep the Yellowtail at home.
Devin Healey is a local foodie and content contributor to Central Jersey InMotion. In addition to writing columns for Central Jersey InMotion and TAPinto New Brunswick, he runs a blog network called CougEats. You can find more of his work on Facebook and Instagram.
2019 State Route 27
Somerset, NJ 08873
Tel: (732) 297-7676