Here’s a riddle for our readers: what’s located behind a liquor store in Smyrna and has incredible Italian food? Why, it’s Mezza Luna, of course! Those of you who live in Smyrna probably know this.
If you didn’t know it was here, you would drive right by it. We are sure that many pass it the first time they try to find it.
Fortunately for us, our dear friends (and Smyrna residents) Claudia and Randy know exactly where Mezza Luna is. Tonight we dine with them for our annual Christmas get-together.
This is basically the entire restaurant. There are a few tables and a bar that overlooks the open kitchen. From this kitchen, Chef Luigi gives you dinner and a show. The restaurant may be small, but, as we shall see, the flavor that comes from the kitchen is huge.
We start out with some calamari, a staple on most Italian menus.
The breading is light and crispy. The squid inside is tender, yet chewy, like al dente pasta. Calamari is always a good dish to share with your friends and we enjoy it.
The good thing about Date Night with friends is that you wind up with even more food pictures than normal.
And you get photos (courtesy of Claudia) of us shooting our exclusive Tastemade video on Mezza Luna that you can watch here. Randy is an excellent lighting director, holding up two phones to create enough light for Eve’s video.
Let’s get back to dinner.
Here’s one of Chef Luigi’s specials for tonight, which Eve chooses. The crab meat and shrimp ravioli is worthy of being a special. Perfectly prepared prawns and pillows of fresh pasta are stuffed with crabmeat. Not only is this a wonderful dish, it gives this writer a good chance to use his alliteration skills.
Randy gets the lasagne.
That’s quite a hunk of pasta, cheese and meat. He’s kind enough to give me a bite and it’s excellent. I would love to eat this before a big bike ride whenever it warms up again.
I am a sucker for pasta and shellfish and I am not disappointed by my fettuccine pescatore.
The huge portion of house-made pasta comes with mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari in a red sauce, or a white wine sauce if you prefer. Somehow or another, I finish the whole plate. I do consider licking the plate, but alas, I am stuffed.
Claudia orders the dish of the night, which is similar to mine, but much more adventurous.
Chef Luigi presents the tagliatelle al cartoccio in parchment paper. Inside is stuffed clams, calamari and black-ink pasta. When it’s opened all of the steam from the hot food comes out. It’s quite the show on the plate and it’s gorgeous.
We probably shouldn’t order dessert, but we do anyway. At least we got four forks with it and shared.
The limoncello mascarpone cake is light and lemony. It’s a nice departure from the heavy Italian fare and the perfect way to end this incredible meal.
The bottom line on Mezza Luna: Mama mia! We feel a little guilty giving away the “secret” of this Smyrna favorite. The locals know that this is the place to go in Smyrna for authentic Italian. Here’s a couple of “authentic” Italians (from Italy!) showing off their new Tastemade sticker:
That’s owner Tony on the left with Chef Luigi. Sit up at the bar and watch Luigi make his magic in the kitchen. You will need a reservation on the weekends as it gets crowded, and as we have seen, it’s pretty small. The intimacy works in their favor, though, as you get better food and service in a small venue like this.