Last Sunday, when I was in Jackson, Wyoming to visit my daughter Katie, we went over the pass into Idaho for a hike into the Idaho side of the Tetons. We slogged up a muddy trail to Mud Lake, well named but tranquil in its setting of Aspens and Birches. Coming back into Victor, Idaho at the base of our hike, we looked for lunch. There was small Italian café that was just opening. As we walked in they were putting the finishing touches on a large hand painted banner for their Mother’s Day special lunch. A series of great deserts, fresh made, were laid out on the counter. The menu was expansive and full of stuff you would not expect in a small town in Idaho or anywhere outside of Italy. All entries were created from scratch and many went beyond the traditional Italian dishes in most US places. It was early for lunch and they were still cooking in preparation for the anticipated Mother’s Day crowd. I was reminded of Stanley Tucci’s movie, The Big Night, but hoped for a better outcome for this group of earnest cooks.
We ordered the pannini with garlic sauce, grilled trout in a citrus sauce, and a special cheese ravioli with fresh basil, tomatoes, and garlic on top. The fresh basil was growing in the window sill and Italian food products where arranged on shelves around the dining room. The waitress brought a complimentary spaghetti pie slice for each of us. This was new to me, spaghetti with sauce formed into a pie and held together by the cooking process. It was crustier than regular spaghetti and better as a result. The grilled pannini came with an intense garlic olive oil sauce that was more than just garlic in oil. Then a simple salad of greens with a wonderful light parsley lemon olive oil dressing was offered before our main courses. We split a berry tart with espressos to conclude our big lunch.
In summary, it was some of the best Italian food I have had anywhere. The place is new and it was the best place we visited in the area, a must if you are there. I hope they prosper. It will be well deserved. The Lucatelli Café is located on 6 Main Street, Victor Idaho 83455. (208) 787-3463.