By Andrew Kahn
At the south end of old town, down the block from Southside 815, is the relatively small American trattoria, Faccia Luna. While the name (“Face on the Moon”) has no real significance to the actual restaurant, it successfully creates the aura of an Italian pizzeria.
Immediately upon stepping through the large wooden door of Faccia Luna, patrons are greeted by a hostess. In the front of the restaurant is a medium sized bar with roughly ten seats. Older men in suits, who seem to be treating themselves to a drink after a long day of work, occupy most of the barstools. A couple plasma TVs are mounted on the wall behind the bartender. One displays a college football game on ESPN while the other shows Herman Cain’s latest speech on Fox News.
The hostess leads us to the side of the bar to the dining room, which consists of fifteen wooden booths. The booths are almost completely occupied; my party got the last one available. Framed pictures of Italy are spaced out around the room. The pictures along with the earthy Tuscan colors of the walls and the tables create a well-decorated Italian setting. In the three booths around us, couples are having a romantic dinner date. This is exactly what I expected because the website states that “Faccia Luna is the perfect first date destination and a sentimental favorite.” While about half of the customers are couples on dates, the other half are families with children of all ages. Faccia Luna appeals to everyone from young children to the elderly.
While the menu has plenty of options, the choice for most people is the same: pizza. My mother, father, and I decide to share the special pizza for the night, which comes with applewood smoked bacon and brocolli. In addition, I order an appetizer from the specials for the night as well: scallops with tomato sauce and bruschetta. The waiter takes all of the drink and food orders without writing it down. He remembers all of the tables’ orders solely by memory.
Before I came to the restaurant, I looked online for information about the owner. I found little to no information. While we are waiting for our meals, I ask the waiter about this mystery man. He tells me that two frat guys from Penn decided to open a pizza place together in Old Town. They have had so much success that they have three different Faccia Lunas, and three other restaurants named Luna 2, Boulevard Woodgrill, and Overwood. The other two Faccia Lunas are located in Arlington, Virginia and College Park, Maryland. All three of the other restaurants are located in Old Town and are all very successful.
After about ten minutes, my scallop dish arrives. The presentation of the appetizer is very well done. Five scallops sit on a dish of tomato sauce with smaller pieces of bruschetta intermixed in the sauce. On the side sit two very large pieces of Italian bread. The first taste of the scallops does not impress. There is a subtle grilled flavor but the by itself, the scallops are rather bland. It needs the robust flavor of the tomato sauce to lend taste to the otherwise flavorless shellfish. The bread also improved the dish. The thick slices of Italian bread went well with the scallops and served as a sponge to soak up excess tomato sauce.
Right after I finish my appetizer, the pizza arrives. I can smell the bacon before the waiter sets it on the table and the smell alone was enough to get my mouth watering. The pizza lived up to the expectation of its smell. The bacon was delicious and perfectly cooked. Often when I order bacon on a pizza, it is way overcooked and tastes like it was refrigerated after being cook for the first time. Faccia Luna knows how to cook a bacon pizza the right way. Also, the fresh broccoli helps to ease the guilt of scarfing down a few slices of the bacon covered masterpiece. My only complaint is that the pizza crust is a little too thick. Besides that, the pizza is arguably the best you can get in Old Town.
For all who are looking for a great pizzeria with good atmosphere, Faccia Luna is the place.