Luna Pizza, a small, family-owned establishment that has become a fixture of West Hartford Center despite the area’s incredibly high turnover rate, may be locally famous for their pizza, but the menu is far more diverse than just that.
Recently, my family explored Luna Pizza’s deep menu, completely forgoing pizza and instead ordering their garlic parmesan wings along with caesar salads. Since we ordered take-out, the packaging was understandably purely utilitarian, with the wings coming in a large aluminum tin and the salads coming each in their own plastic packaging, with a small cup of dressing located in each one. Upon removing the lids of the packaging, however, it became abundantly clear that a great deal of time and effort had gone into the aesthetics of the dish.
The salads were a rich green and were covered in thin shavings of parmesan cheese, distributed at regular intervals. The wings, a rich deep brown from the frying of the light breading, were liberally yet elegantly dressed with grated parmesan cheese and forest-green herbs, as if they were fallen leaves with a light dusting of snow over a breadcrumb-colored mountain.
Unlike many wings, these were not spicy at all, with the chef instead opting to focus on creating a savory dish and doing so with great success. The wings were a perfect blend of savory and salty. The outside of the wing was crispy and rigid, while the meat inside was juicy and tender. These contrasting textures complemented each other well: The meat kept the palate moist while the skin and breading provided both a satisfying crunch and an effective surface with which to hold the wing. Aside from the taste of chicken and breadcrumbs, the garlic and the cheese were noticeable, but complemented the chicken well and were responsible for the savory part of the salty sensation. But even though the wings weren’t covered in a spicy sauce, I was still able to experience the delightful messiness of the authentic wing experience. The parmesan combined with the oil clinging to the breadcrumbs left much-desired velvety residue on my fingers and around my mouth. These wings were delicious and were very reasonably priced, at $30 for 24 wings. I would absolutely recommend the wings – there are few better homestyle Italian wings out there.
In contrast to the delicious wings, the caesar salads were simply adequate. The lettuce was a bit dry and the shavings of parmesan, while aesthetically pleasing, did not add to the taste. Since the shavings were quite large, it meant that some bites of salad would be overwhelmingly cheesy, and other bites would be without. In addition, the dressing was also slightly below average. It tasted too salty, especially when combined with a large shaving of parmesan, and, despite being a liquid, it didn’t stop the salad from feeling dry. Nevertheless, it is difficult to cause a salad to truly taste bad, and despite it being simply adequate, it paired quite nicely with the wings, granting me temporary reprieve from the fried taste of the wings with the fresh taste of salad. In terms of value, the salad was quite large but cost $8, which is simply too expensive for a simply mediocre salad. I would much rather have a smaller salad for which I could pay significantly less.
Despite the underwhelming salad, the meal was overall very good. I would absolutely recommend the garlic parmesan wings for anyone looking for a savory meal, but I would advise considering one of the many other salads Luna Pizza has to offer to pair with the wings.