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Italian Brunch at Luca & Leonardo

If you’re the least bit like me, you’re probably wondering what an “Italian brunch” might be. Or even more precisely, what you could do to brunch to make it “Italian.” Considering that Luca & Leonardo on the Waterway in the Woodlands is launching its new Italian brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, it seemed high time yesterday to find out. As this version of oh-so-French eggs Benedict makes clear, the process is mostly about using Italian ingredients – like prosciutto, for instance – instead of whatever is traditional or familiar.

Executive chef Daniel Miranda works wonders with egg dishes that show up beneath a blanket of hollandaise, a lot of people’s idea of what brunch is all about anyway. For seafood lovers, he takes Benedict to the woodshed and doesn’t let it come back till its loaded with crabcakes plus a sprinkle of bright red caviar. Not exactly for folks on a diet, the dish is about as rich as anything can be – demanding, we’re convinced, a flute of prosecco to wash each bite down.

Probably every pizza on earth has somebody who thinks it’s the “best” – the differences over taste and texture are that great. But since Luca & Leonardo (the first U.S. venture of a classy restaurant company based in Mexico City) turns out excellent pizzas, we couldn’t resist this masterpiece of artichoke hearts and olives. Only three lighter-side pizzas make it onto the brunch meu, but you can order a pizza with anything the kitchen has handy.

Poor side dishes – nobody ever mentions them. At Luca & Leonardo, however, even roasted potatoes pack a lot of flavor  – even before you follow my lead and start dunking them in your hollandaise. These potatoes have a great time frollicking with olive oil and fresh herbs, plus a bit of extra taste supplied by sundried tomatoes.

And of course, you know there’s one in ever crowd: the person who thinks their main dish at brunch should be sweet rather than savory. Luca & Leonardo has plenty of greatest hits for such a person, though we think the blueberry pancakes might actually be the best choice. The pancakes come with syrup of the side, but we think somebody should simply back up a truck filled with the whipped cream and fresh berries. It must be healthy, with the berries and all, right?



About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

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