I’m in love with birthdays, especially mine, so I was thrilled to check out Luna for yet another birthday celebration right before the 98 Degrees Christmas Tour at DPAC. The restaurant is within easy walking distance, so we weren’t surprised at all to find fellow concertgoers dining alongside us. In fact, my friend even enticed another couple to come in after she told them about the great reviews!
The space at Luna is bright and convivial, and those qualities are very much reflected in the staff as well. Our server Sydney was enthusiastic and engaging from the start, but even more so after we discovered that we all grew up in New York. Even as the restaurant got busier (we’d gotten there at 5:30), she was great about checking on us regularly.
My friend was absolutely enamored with the Camote Chimichurri ($8.75), where the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the sweet corn were balanced by the savory quality of the black beans and the avocado. The chimichurri was as memorable a sauce as they come, with absolutely nothing left to be desired. I chose to explore my avocado love with the Aguacate ($7.75), which came with a full cast of textural characters, from the crispiness of the almond crust to the crunch of the jicama kale slaw to the soft avocado — a spectacular combination.
One of the reasons I chose Luna was for its significant number of vegetarian options, from which my friend chose the Quinoa and Black Bean Empanada, the Potato and Lima Bean Empanada, and a side of Black Beans and Coconut Rice ($9.50 for two empanadas with a side). The combination is quite substantial, so definitely bring your appetite.
While I love my vegetables, Luna is also known for its rotisserie, so I decided to check out the Peruvian Roast Chicken along with the Maduros (sweet plantains) and the Garlic Kale ($12.75 with dark meat and two sides). Every component of the plate was impeccably seasoned, which made it that much sadder that I couldn’t finish it all.
Since we were celebrating my birthday, we certainly couldn’t skip dessert, despite our very full stomachs, so we decided to share the Passion Fruit Pie ($7). Thanks to Sydney, it came out with a single celebratory candle and a birthday song, which was the best way to end the night.
Luna represents the best combination of South American and American South flavors and hospitality. Regardless of how you arrive, chances are you’ll leave in good spirits.
Hoi Ning Ngai is the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill. She’s a recent transplant to the Triangle, a native of New York, and a lover of all things bacon, ice cream, and Paris. Follow her life adventures on Instagram at @hoiningngai!