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Lupa Osteria Romana


Beachfan
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As the FG noted on another thread recently, Batali has been very succesful at delivering some idiomatic Italian food (like porchetta) in New York (as has the Bastianich family), and in so doing, giving us a new view of the idea of authenticity in NYC Italian restaurants.

The food is also very good. Mazal and I also had a number of pork dishes at Lupa recently, all of which were most enjoyable. One in particular, glazed with rosewater, was especially delicious.

Does anyone else find the rear room there to have the feeling of an afterthought? We found the lighting to be dull, and one of our dining companions remarked on the absence of wall decoration other than the sconces. Certainly, a minimalist approach can be very effective, but in this case, we thought it was just lazy.

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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I thoroughly enjoyed lunch at Lupa on Monday. This had to be a fairly light "last meal in NYC before I caught my flight back to London" meal.

Started with Escarole Salad with cheese (I can't remember which one). Good, fresh ingredients, well dressed, and well balanced. I didn't like the bread they served, which was more like a sweet bun than bread.

At lunch time, they have a more limited menu than at dinner, including a dish of the day for each day of the week, and Monday's was Lamb Sausage. I was tempted, but I chose Crispy Duck (which turned out to be a confit) with white grapes. An excellent dish, tender and full of flavor.

I had a caraffino of wine :blink: This really lived up to its name --- it was a very small carafe, not much more than a large glass, which was highly priced at $12. So of course I had two :raz: The wine was an excellent Sicilian red, Terra delle Sirene.

Service was pleasant and easy, the atmosphere lively even when the place was just over half full, and prices very reasonable. I'll have to try it again for dinner.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had dinner at Lupa last night (bar area). The evening began with champagne at Bubbles. My dining companion and I shared a Pol Roger Flight, consisting of the following for $35 (3.50 oz pours of each):

Pol Roger NV, Brut Reserve

1995 Brut, 100% Chardonnay

1995 Brut Rose

1993 Cuvee Winston Churchill :wink:

While Pol Roger is not a particularly good producer, I wanted to sample this vintage of the Winston Churchill (ordinarily $30/glass for what the lounge member indicated was an intermediate pour between 3.75 oz and 5.75 oz).

We proceeded to Lupa, where we secured a seat relatively promptly at the bar (with some proactiveness on my part). :wink: I had the $15 small platter entitled Affeti Piccolo (the larger version is $30). This included Proscuitto di Parma (purchased; everything else was house-made), Finocchiona, Salumi, Mortadella, and Testa (which was nicely moist). Overall, this disappointed me, relative to my expectations. The tastes were appropriate, perhaps good-minus. However, I have limited experience with most aspects of Italian cuisine and am not necessarily positioned to evaluate the quality of the various components of the platter.

For entree, I had rigatoni with veal. I liked this dish, which was served in a generous portion. Nice cooked down veal, with a matching sauce, conveying home-cooking and wholesome sensations. With a muscato d'asti, a quartino (?) of Italian red and a flight of amaro (my dining companion was quite familiar with these, and Nina had previously pointed me to order them), the bill came to under $70 before tips. A good meal and a good value. Evaluation of quality of pasta overall not possible with one meal, but I see myself revisiting this restaurant despite my generally not preferring Italian cuisine.

As Nina had mentioned to me, the amaro (bitter liquids with herbs) selection is extensive. A flight of around three brought a fourth that the restaurant offers to clients (due to certain amaros not being capable of being sold in the US). Tastes varied considerably, from ones that were thick and syrup-y to ones that were more appealing to me. Tastes included (very roughly, and not official descriptions): rhubarb; orange/mint; red berry; walnut/coffee/molasses, etc. :laugh:

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cabrales, the world of salumi is vast and deep. And relatively easy to explore because you can obtain a wide range of samples not only at Italian(esque) restaurants but at delis which you can take home and consume at your leisure. I highly recommend you pursue this on occasion.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jim Dixon was just mentioning lamb prosciutto in another thread. I've never had this and think I must.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Cabrales,

If you have the time, consider posting your tasting notes/reactions to the pol roger flight. Specifically what did you think of the '93 cuvee sir winston chruchill? It seems to be a favorite of the WSJ wine page, and I find that the Pol Roger non vintage brute compairs favorably with others such as Vueve Cliquot and Moet and Chandon White Star.

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The Winston Churchill is a cuvee that I have only sampled once before. The 1993 had some nice undergrowth notes on the nose, but its taste in the mouth and aftertaste were not particularly impressive. Note I tend to prefer single-grape Chardonnay champagnes, and the inclusion of the 1995 Pol Roger Brut 100% Chardonnay contributed, together with the Winston Churchill, to our selection of the Pol Roger flight. Note that that flight was not available upon an earlier visit to Bubbles.

The 1993 Winston Churchill was included in, among possibly other things, a flight called Sourire de Reims et Epernay, consisting of (1) the 1993 Winston Churchill, (2) Krug Grand Cuvee, and (3) Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1995 (which I would prefer to the Winston Churchill and have sampled at non-NY venues). That flight was $70. A slightly larger pour of any of the three included in that flight was $30.

I almost ordered the deviled eggs ($7.50) at Bubbles.

I'm not sure what the retailo price of Pol Roger non-vintage might be, but I like Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blanc (not available at all stores) in a lower price range (not necessarily at some stores in the US). I consider M&C White Star and Nectar Imperiale poor. They are unduly sweet. When I visited the M&C caves at Epernay, I was told that White Star was made specifically for the US market and is not consumed meaningfully in France. :wink:

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I've found the Pol Roger non vinatge brut retailing for about 25 dollars. Will definatley look into Jacques Selosse Blanc de blanc. I'm glad to hear that I'm on solid ground for not finding M+C's white star :laugh::biggrin:

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marcus -- Yes. But note that Krug also offers Clos de Mesnil, a single grape champagne. My favorite champagnes are Salon, aged Ruinart Blanc de Blancs (latter is subjective preference), and others too. I need to work on vocabulary to describe wine tastes. Perhaps when I have time, I need to attend a basic wine tasting course. :blink: (I also really like Bollinger R.D., most vintages, even though it is not a single grape and has qualities different from most of the other champagnes I like. On Bollinger R.D., it should be noted that this wine appears to be underpriced at both Arzak and Berasategui, at slightly under or over $100. Relative to other champagnes' mark-ups at those restaurants, that was not a bad deal. I find Bollinger R.D. works well in many meal contexts.)

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I love the food at Lupa, but they have the most uncomfortable chairs ever. Also, the last time I went the somalier pissed me off. I asked him about a gewerztraminer on the list and he went into this long oratory about what gewerztraminers "tend" to be like, as if I neededa lesson, without asking me if I was familiar with the grape or not. He assumed me to be ignorant, and when I told him I knew what they "tended" to be like, but I wanted to know what this one was like, he was so mad all he'd say is that it was "good". I asked him about another wine and he said that was good too. Humph.

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Found both the Jacque Sellose Blanc de Blanc and Substance at Astor Place before Thanksgiving for $49.99 and $99.99 respectively. I hadn't been paying much attention to wines lately but read Gault Millau on the plane back from Europe and they gave it something like 93 & 97. Tried the Blanc de Blanc at Thanksgiving dinner and didn't find it special. But I tried the Substance the next day and it was pretty amazing. I went out to buy more and found it for $80 a bottle. I never seem to like the Winston Churchill or Bollinger RD. I'm happy with Krug and Salon and Cristal for opulent occassions. And I love DP in good vintages. I had a 1990 DP out of magnum last week and it was sensational.

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I really like the white Champagnes like Salon, but for the real hedonistic pure wine pleasure, I prefer the yeasty rush that you get from Krug especially, but also Cristal. Dom Perignon is always well made, but can sometimes be lacking in oomph. However, I agree that the 1990 is genuinely brilliant. Have you tried the roses, I haven't, and I'm curious as to whether they taste different, or its just a color thing. The price premium is substantial.

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Sunday lunch at Lupa. We sarted with selections of meats and seafood. Meats included: Proscuitto, testa, mortadella. Like cabrales (earlier post), I wasn't over the moon with these. To me (not the other three) they tasted dull. Craftbar has much better salumi, I think. Platter of seafood included: preserved tuna (waiter said this is bottled in olive oil and pepper on the premises), bacalao --very succulent, salmon--OK, but I wasn't sure why it needed chilies on it, cured sardines (much the same quality as those at Babbo, tender, sour, as I like them.

My spaghetti with olive oil, black pepper and pecorino was wonderful. Absolutely worth going back for. I tried the gnocci, macaroni with cauliflower and tubed pasta with tomato sauce. All were very good.

Castel del Monte, Santa Lucia, 98, from Puglia was heavy enough for the spiciness of the dishes.

Two efficient, jolly, skinny as rakes, brothers (one of whom appeared around 14, but was 21) served us. We were in the back room. I agree with Robert; this room lacks decor and is plain mustard-dull.

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Dinner at Lupa the other night -- the special, bollito misto, was great, particularly on a very cold night. Huge bowls that took up most of the table, filled with large pieces of veal tongue, beef cheek, pork shoulder, two kinds of cotecchino-type sausages (both made in-house, I think), chicken, a few pieces of carrot and onion, in a very clear and flavorful (although noticeably salty) broth, served with apple mostarda, mustard, mint pesto (might actually have been more like a salsa verde), tarragon, and dried chile peppers (to break open and sprinkle into the broth -- adding the pepper lessened the saltiness of the broth). The chicken was especially delicious, with a very chicken-y flavor. We drank Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano, very fruity and nice with the food.

There's a recipe with picture in the Babbo Cookbook; the dish at Lupa was actually more refined and elegant than the picture or recipe in the book appear to be.

I ordered the ricotta with honey -- I thought the ricotta had a lovely creaminess to it, but not enough depth of flavor.

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I ordered the ricotta with honey -- I thought the ricotta had a lovely creaminess to it, but not enough depth of flavor.

 

Toby, that's exactly what I thought the second time around! It surprised me since the first time I had it there was a rich flavor to it. Maybe it is variable or maybe my palate is variable.

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Could the bollito misto be orderd by a single diner?  Sounds huge.

There were 2 of us and we each ate our own order, plus split an order of the ravioli special (stuffed with pork with black truffle and butter sauce), plus shared an order of ricotta with honey cheese course. I ate everything in the bowl, my friend left a little over. It was very satisfying. Unfortunately, it was a special, so don't know when it will reappear there again.

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You didn't like that salad, Yvonne????

No. I thought I would, but I've come to the conclusion I like my Brussels sprouts cooked--still a bit of solidity, and not mushy. I think it was at Ilo, also, I tasted some Brussels recently, and they were raw or very barely cooked, and I found them unpleasant.

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