COLONIE — In an Adirondack-style building on Central Avenue, where Truman’s Restaurant used to be, Mia Lucci’s, a new restaurant, makes wood-fired pizza and other casual food.
Traditional Adirondack-style buildings are made with materials from the environment in which they are found, and they are designed to bring serenity to the surrounding landscape. Central Avenue could surely use some.
The small, one-room building that replaces Truman’s appears rustic but is shiny and new. It’s wood-scented and log-paneled, and the dining room is furnished with chairs made of tree limbs and split-log benches. Pelts would suit the place better than the very big television screens, but the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
“Hi, have you been here before?” was the friendly greeting from behind the counter as Ann Marie and I entered, sniffing the appealing woodsmoke in the air. It was lunchtime and there was one other group in the dining room.
We walked up to the counter and were given a tour of the menu, then took a table by the door and sat down to read.
Pizza and more
There’s pizza, of course, made in the red metal behemoth of an oven that dominates the space behind the counter. So are gourmet wood-fired grilled cheese sandwiches, and it’s pressed into service for the roasted red peppers, oven-roasted wings, smoked bacon and slow-roasted beef for the French dip. There are salads, soups and Italian-style entrees. Chicken Parm, at $14.95, includes garlic bread and a slice of fried mozzarella cheese. They offer sautéed dishes such as chicken marsala, Francese and piccata, all served with pasta. You can get a beer with your meal.
We walked back and put in our order, then filled our soda cups and sat down to chat while the large television screens played sports and news silently. Everything is made to order, so it’s not lunch in 30 minutes or less. A group of those plastic number cards used to display on tables was by the register, but it wasn’t very busy and they didn’t give us one.
In the interim between ordering our food and getting served a few other groups came in. A couple at a nearby table ordered wings, a big pile that were hefty, meaty and looked delicious. It took some time for our food to arrive, but we weren’t in a hurry.
We shared a plate of bruschetta ($7.99) on delicious char-grilled bread.
The chopped tomato, red onion and the bed of lovely bright green arugula were lively-tasting and fresh, and I especially liked the thickened balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top. It’s one of my favorite things, but it’s also very sticky and I was soon wiping it off my fingers and utensils. The bread, grilled on one side, was tasty but a bit wet under the fresh tomato.
Ann Marie ordered the Smokin’ Colonie ($12.99), a 12-inch pie topped with fresh mozzarella, oven-roasted peppers, Italian sausage, red onion, shaved Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh basil. It’s colorful and quite attractive. Mia Lucci uses pink roasted red pepper sauce in place of tomato, which Ann Marie said was a nice change. The browned dough was bubbled and burned in spots, in a good way, and it was light, airy and tasty.
“The sausage is sweet and juicy,” said Ann Marie, and added, “The sauce is a little watery,” but she liked its flavor anyway. She first tried to pick up a slice in her hand, but it was a bit soggy in the middle and she reluctantly resorted to knife and fork. She pronounced it good, and finished it.
The person at the counter talked me into ordering the homemade chicken noodle soup ($5.99). It’s a large serving, which justifies the price, but could use some bread or saltines on the side. It had personality, this soup, with extra black pepper for kick and some thick pappardelle-style egg noodles in addition to the usual long-cooked carrot, celery and onion, and lots of tender dark meat, which I like. It would probably get more attention if they sold the smaller cup size, as the bowl is somewhat of a commitment.
Mia Lucci’s menu is varied, and we weren’t sure what kind of restaurant it wants to be. It’s definitely casual, and their pizza is solid; they also serve some fried food, smoked and roasted ingredients, and the rest leans Italian restaurant-style, at least according to the menu online. But the service is warm and friendly, and they want you to enjoy their food. The person who made the excellent chicken soup came over to see how I liked it.
The tab for lunch, with two sodas and tax, not counting what went in the tip jar, came to $33.45.
Mia Lucci’s Wood Fired Pizzeria
WHERE: 1647 Central Ave., Colonie, 218-1800, mialucciswoodfiredpizzeria.com.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
HOW MUCH: $33.45 for food and two sodas, with tax.
MORE INFO: Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Small parking lot off-street. ADA compliant. Delivery through Grubhub.