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Lupa Osteria Romana


Beachfan
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I'm obsessed with that shaved raw brussel sprout salad.   Gotta make it.

Can somebody tell me more about this salad. Now i'm obsessed too. I even bought brussel sprouts on my way back from work. But now i cannot find any clue on how to proceed with these little guys, actually never made them in my life. HELP!

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We asked and were told it was made from shaved raw brussel sprouts (peeled), EVO, peccorino cheese and black pepper. No quantities were given, so it's a matter of experimenting to taste. It looks like a dry cole slaw.

Edited by jaybee (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Below is an excerpt from a Lupa update on a wine/food lunch regarding the Lazio region of Italy.

"[O]ur first ever wine tasting luncheon. The luncheon will spotlight the foods and wines of Lazio, the region in which Rome is situated. The five-course food menu will be expertly paired with five different wines for $80 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations will be accepted by phone ... a credit card will be required to secure the reservation. ...

Traditional Roman Tasting Menu

Wine Tasting Luncheon

January 22, 2003

12 - 3 PM

Bruschetta

~

Carciofi "alla Romana"

or

Puntarelle con la Salsa

~~

Gnocchi all Romana

or

Bavette cacio e pepe

~~~

Saltimbocca

or

Oxtail "alla vaccinara"

~~~~

Fried Lupa Baccala

or

Braised eel "alla Latium"

~~~~~

Sorbetto or Tartufo"

Edited by cabrales (log)
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I had a limited number of dishes at Lupa last night -- average-plus-to-good.

When my dining companion and I arrived at the restaurant at around 9:00 pm without a reservation, the bar area was very busy. Being hungry, we proceeded to see what restaurants were close by, and settled on Jane on Houston St. (a venue of which neither of us had heard). The restaurant is average-to-average-minus. I was feeling better than in the recent past, and began with a Bellini. (I rarely have this, but the white peach was described as having been freshly pureed and I doubted my usual "straight" champagne aperatif would have been attractive here in view of the quality of the champagne). My dining companion and I shared a baby squid appetizer -- this was not poor, with appropriate crunchy textures to the baby squid and an ability to feel the little tentacles/legs (?) in one's mouth. The saucing was a bit spicy for my tastes. I ordered a hangar steak, rare. The steak was smothered in a gravy-like sauce that had occasional sweet overtones, and was overcooked relative to my specified level of rare. Accompanying the steak were three largish fried dumplings with a mixture of melted cheese and some type of apple puree (?) inside. I had a Rhone red by the glass. We left promptly, hoping to secure a seat at the Lupa bar. In hindsight, we should have taken an appetizer and drinks at Jane, and left.

We were seated at the bar almost immediately upon reaching Lupa. The two men attending to the bar area were friendly and professional. My dining companion and I shared the following:

(1) Frutti di Mare Piccolo ($15) -- The smaller of the two seafood platters contained Preserved Tuna, Citrus Cured Sardines, Smoked Baccalau (spelling), Octopus in Ink and one other item I cannot recall. The portion was large, and there was a decent-sized mound of each of the five items. Overall, I would rate the platter as average.

The smoked baccalau was not particularly smoky in flavor, but neither was it inappropriately salty (Wilfrid -- :laugh:). It was nicely mixed with raw slivers of onions and capers, and had lemon juice in it as well. In this preparation, the baccalau was relatively mild in flavor. The citrus cured sardines were average, with the preserved tuna being the item I preferred among the platter's contents. The preserved tuna was presented in a relativley large chunk, and its texture was unusual for tuna. Also, nice utilization of pepper (at least along the areas I sampled) with respect to the tuna.

(2) Ravioli of Pork with Truffle Oil (Daily special, not on menu) -- This was nice. The pasta was appropriate, and the pork within was shredded and almost had a confit aspect to it. The saucing was a simple olive oil mixed with truffle oil. A very interesting aspect to this dish were shavings of a black-ish truffle (not "cross-section" shavings, but a noticeable amounts) on top of the ravioli. I asked where this truffle came from, as its "interior" did not resemble that of the range of French black truffles I have sampled. I was advised that these are *Italian black truffles*, from Umbria.

I don't sample Italian cuisine very much, although I like Italian white truffles. I did not previously know that Italy has black truffles. :huh:

Edited by cabrales (log)
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  • 4 months later...

so few lupa threads. that's odd, given the popularity of this spot.

i'll agree with Besha in that the chairs are really really uncomfortable.

rather than bore everyone (and more importantly, myself) with minute details, i'll just say that the fried pork shin with rose petals was one of the most pleasant dishes i've had in quite some time. mrs. tommy was elated that i *finally* had a smile on my face during a meal (she seems to think that i'm "hard to please", have "crazy high standards", and that i'm basically a "miserable bastard"...although that last one probably has nothing to do with dining). 2 other notable dishes were the sunchokes, and the pancetta served with parsley and parsely root. i don't think i've ever had parsley root. but if i have, it sure weren't with fried pancetta. :biggrin:

asking for a tasting menu was not terribly easy, as the server suggested that the kitchen wouldn't split most dishes. however, pastas could be split. we suggested a few dishes to share, and asked that wines be paired. the wine pairing was an extra 25 pp. a good deal i'd say, if not for the quality, for the explanation of those stranger-than-strange italian grapes.

prosecco and a dessert sparkler were complimentary.

i'm not going to get into a huge discourse here, but i wish i had gone here before i went to Otto. it's seems to "link" babbo (which i've loved since day 1) and otto. while that probably has no relevance to the rest of the dining public, it does for me.

the service was casual, informed, friendly, and attentive. the water-guys were spot on, and completely friendly (something that i find is sorely lacking at most restaurants). while i find babbo to be a bit too "scene-y" and even "stuffy" in some strange pink-floyd-playing-on-the-stereo-during-dinner-service way, and Otto to be a bit too blah, the atmosphere at lupa was right where i wanted it. jeans, t-shirts, ink, piercings, whatever. all there. and everyone was pleasant and having a nice time (except for, perhaps, the people lined up to get in), which is more important than how one dresses.

i'm looking foward to returning.

edit: shin, not chin. :blink:

Edited by tommy (log)
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the atmosphere at lupa was right where i wanted it.  jeans, t-shirts, ink, piercings, whatever.  all there.  and everyone was pleasant and having a nice time (except for, perhaps, the people lined up to get in), which is more important than how one dresses.

i'm looking foward to returning.

does this mean the guys from green day were eating in the front room again??

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the atmosphere at lupa was right where i wanted it.  jeans, t-shirts, ink, piercings, whatever.  all there.  and everyone was pleasant and having a nice time (except for, perhaps, the people lined up to get in), which is more important than how one dresses.

i'm looking foward to returning.

does this mean the guys from green day were eating in the front room again??

not them, but it certainly had a lot of artist/musican types. which can often, actually, be annoying. but the crowd overall was pleasant and cool. not nasty and bitter and too-cool-for-school.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Last night, I tried out Lupa for the first time. We wandered in around 6:15 and were seated immediately sans reservation. The place was a little too loud for my taste, which often resulted in us shouting to each other. I wish we had been seated outside. I am also not down with the menus. I wish they had the translations for each dish under the Italian. It took me a while to read the menu because I was constantly flipping to the glossary on the back of the menu. I see the authentic appeal, but functionally, the menu is a pain.

We started with the octopus appetizer and a special fried prosciutto and sage balls coated in bread crumbs. The octopus was awesome, best I’ve ever had. It came with a white bean puree dotted with garbanzo beans. We think out waitress said that it was a confit. I guess that is how they got the great texture, tender and firm, no rubbery feel in the slightest. The prosciutto and sage balls were super salty. I would skip next time. For entrees, we both had pasta specials. I had the farfalle with pork ragu. Again, a huge hit. My dining companion had the orecchiette with spicy pork sausage and fennel. That was not as good as the farfalle. Still the pasta itself was outstanding, just the sauce was not very impressive.

I have heard so many great things about Lupa, and we had a pretty good experience. Honestly, I think the hype built it up for me to expect a little more over the top. (Probably because much of the hype I’ve heard comes from people who have ate with former employees there = special treatment) It’s not like I won’t go back, I definitely will. I thought it was very good and very reasonably priced. Maybe, since we ordered so many specials, we missed some regular menu favorites that should not be over looked next time.

Jennie

Jennie Auster aka "GIT"

Gastronome in Training

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Thanks for your review! This is at the top of my Batali restaurant list.

Sam Sifton did an awesome piece on a duck bigoli special that Lupa once had every Thursday. Does anyone know if the restaurant still does that special?

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  • 3 months later...

I returned to Lupa Saturday night...probably four years after my initial lunch there. I had always wanted to return however circumstances - namely my move to DC - dictated otherwise.

Given that it was Saturday night around 8:15 or so when my friend Laura and I arrived, there was a wait for a table (we were told 20-30 minutes and that was more or less accurate on the high end). We settled in at the bar and had a glass of prosecco ($8 each, I believe). The bartender (Phil?) was friendly and funny, as well as kind enough to bring the two of us hungry gals some bread and what I think was basil oil. Yum.

Still no table and the crowd was growing. Uh-oh. Never fear, have more wine. This time, I had a quartino of an Italian red whose name is escaping me ($11 or $12). Laura, still nursing her hangover from the night before (!!) continued sipping her prosecco until it lost its bubbles.

Once we were seated, we immediately ordered as we'd had time to peruse the menu while waiting at the bar. From the antipasti e salumi section of the menu, we selected Proscuitto di Parma ($10; amazing!) as well as a hunk of parmesan ($?; so tasty) from the cheese menu.

I initially considered revisiting the bavette cacio e pepe ($12) or trying the vermicelli alla carbonara ($15), however the waiter determined that I'd never had their ricotta (not potato) gnocchi with sausage and fennel and urged me to try it. I did, and it was wonderful ($15).

My friend had the Saturday special - minute steak "Involtino" ($19), a skirt steak pounded thin and rolled around fresh greens. We loved it, however it was on the salty side. If salt's not your thing, you should probably pass on this dish.

Too full for dessert, we got the check which totaled in the low $80s. Not a bad deal at all.

Restaurants like Lupa are something I miss terribly here in DC where Italian tends to be high-end (e.g., Galileo), bad low-end (names excluded to protect the guilty), or not at all.

*sigh*

Edited by JennyUptown (log)
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  • 1 month later...

My brother and I had a terrific lunch at Lupa today. We arrived without reservations but didn't have trouble getting a table. I arrived first and had some wine at the bar. I didn't take notes on the names, but the wine I got was a nice earthy red wine from Calabria with some complexity and cost $11 for a caraffina. We also shared a caraffina of a nice Sicilian red with our lunch for $13. My brother also had iced tea and was given two free refills of his glass, which was a pretty big and pleasant surprise. I'm tired now and just had a large Chinese meal that I'll post about separately, so I may have to correct some of the foregoing descriptions. That said, after enjoying some rustic bread (salty and oily, but we liked it) and olive oil, we shared a delicious dish of chicken livers with fennel, hearts of palm, and red onion, topped with sprigs of thyme; a wonderful dish of acorn (I believe) squash puree with pecorino romano and farro that was a revelation to me; a cold contorno of chard with whipped mozzarela di bufala; another contorno featuring chanterelles; a savory custard with corn starch and parmigiano that was lovely; and a stupendous tartufo for dessert, which had delicious chocolate, was filled with gelato that had an excellent hazelnut taste, and was topped with bits of walnut. The chanterelles were dried and we both found them somewhat too chewy, though we liked the taste. I thought the chard contorno was least impressive dish. Overall, though, it was a great lunch and the best Italian food I've had since I was in Italy. My brother felt the same way. Bravo Mario!

By the way, the whole lunch excluding the $11 + tip caraffina I paid the bartender for separately was $60-something plus tip, which both of us thought was a terrific value.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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This is just one of those restaurants that consistently provides damn good food at reasonable prices - no pretense, no bullshit. What's interesting is that we had dinner at 'inoteca on Saturday night - a slightly different style of cooking, to be sure, but providing value and good food - it almost seems like Mario has this part down, and we're just lucky to be able to enjoy it all.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 3 months later...

Let me begin by saying that I love Lupa! I always find the food delicious and plentiful, and I always love everything about the experience. And so, considering the great food and reasonable prices, I eagerly anticipated the Easter Sunday Dinner that I signed up for, which was a set meal for $60 per person. But it was disappointing food and considerably overpriced for what they served.

The starter was a platter of crudites, with olive oil from the Bastianich/Batali estate in Tuscany. It was a few pieces of raw baby carrot, fennel, broccoli, radicchio, and artichoke plus a few chunks of bread, with a bowl of perfectly okay olive oil for dipping, and was a very strange antipasto for a restaurant that specializes in them. The next course had three choices, and I opted for the “Traditional Mortadella filled Pasta in Intense Clear Broth” (there was also a light stew of skate wind with broccolini and ditalini, or a Roman Easter Soup with small lamb meatballs finished with egg yolks). Mine was five tortellini, perfectly nice, served in a little bit of clear broth, perfectly nice as well, at the bottom of a large bowl. For the main course the choices were “slow roasted young lamb with traditional cheese, egg and lemon sauce” or “Pollo Braciole”, large boneless chicken stuffed, rolled and lightly braised”, or a “whole poached sea bass served with Sorrento lemons”. I opted for the roast lamb. The serving was a lamb rib bone, a round sliver of meat from one part of the animal, and a small chunk of meat from another part, all well done, sitting on a perfectly tasty sauce. With the main courses, some fried potatoes (two, actually), artichokes, and peas with prosciutto were served. Nothing was a standout in terms of flavor or texture. (Normally, when peas are offered on the "verdure" section of the antipasti, they are exceptional, but last night they were ordinary at best.)

And dessert was a choice of cheese, an ice-cream “tartufino”, or a pineapple “crostada” which turned out to be a small, very good cake that tasted like a corn muffin with pineapple baked on top.

As I said at the start, I love Lupa and always have. But this meal hardly had a celebratory feel to it. The servers were all in a downbeat mode, the place was not crowded at all and lacked its usual energy, and the food was alright, but absolutely nothing special (whereas a normal dinner there usually is). And while I am not one to complain about price, from the ‘everything’s relative’ comments on the Per Se thread, I did come away thinking that a few bites of raw vegetables, five tortellini, no matter how good, and a few bites of lamb didn’t really represent $60 worth of dinner, especially at Lupa where you can normally have a genuine feast for that amount. And it was the first time that I ever left a Mario Batali restaurant hungry. I found it a real misstep for Lupa.

Was anybody else there on Easter Sunday?

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I wasn't there on Easter Sunday (I was on a Chinese Dumping quest downtown), but I eat lunch at Lupa fairly often. While it's certainly not expensive by NYC standards, I have found the portions to be fairly small, and many of the ingredients (i.e. the pastas) have a low overall food cost given the prices charged. For example, a few slices of salumi (albeit excellent quality artisinal salumi) with cheese costs $15. I've had great dishes there, such as traditional ribbon pasta with wild boar, and some unremarkable ones as well. I think it is hit or miss, but always return because the high points can be wonderful.

This place and Babbo seem to fit in the same economic model - excellent dishes made with a lower food cost (pastas, less expensive cuts of meat and offal) at a competitive price point for NYC.

Edited by Felonius (log)
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I'm not familiar with this restaurant - but "holiday meals" (especially holidays like Valentine's Day - Mother's Day - Thanksgiving - Christmas) at most restaurants tend to underwhelm compared to the normal standards of the restaurant in question (food is worse and prices are higher). Perhaps the moral of the story is stay home for the holidays. Robyn

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had dinner at Lupa tonight as part of a party of three. We shared a pasta special as a first course. It was delicate - made with artichoke hearts, some kind of bean (I forget which kind), tiny asparagi, ramps, and other little spring vegetables. For our second courses, I got Pollo alla Diavola and the others got Tuna Belly and Crispy Duck. We ordered the farrotto with mushroom ragu' to come as an accompaniment and shared it. The main dishes were all excellent (the duck may have been the best of the three), but the real standout of the night was the farrotto. Chef Batali really loves and is inspired by this grain. The taste was so deliciously mushroomy, with an admixture of excellent cheese, and the texture was great. It was just as good in its own way as the farrotto my brother and I had for lunch (described two posts above) with squash puree. For dessert, we shared the Tartufo and the Spiced Apicius Dates with Mascarpone. Both desserts were worthwhile. The date dessert seemed small, as there were only two dates, albeit large ones, with just a little mascarpone, but we were all stuffed at the end of our dinner. We shared a bottle of pleasant, uncomplicated white wine whose name I forget with our meal. It cost $33, and even so, including a bottle of Lurisia acqua minerale as well, our total came to $60 apiece including a good tip for our waitress. I love Lupa!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I had dinner at Lupa tonight as part of a party of three. We shared a pasta special as a first course. It was delicate - made with artichoke hearts, some kind of bean (I forget which kind), tiny asparagi, ramps, and other little spring vegetables. For our second courses, I got Pollo alla Diavola and the others got Tuna Belly and Crispy Duck. We ordered the farrotto with mushroom ragu' to come as an accompaniment and shared it. The main dishes were all excellent (the duck may have been the best of the three), but the real standout of the night was the farrotto. Chef Batali really loves and is inspired by this grain. The taste was so deliciously mushroomy, with an admixture of excellent cheese, and the texture was great. It was just as good in its own way as the farrotto my brother and I had for lunch (described two posts above) with squash puree. For dessert, we shared the Tartufo and the Spiced Apicius Dates with Mascarpone. Both desserts were worthwhile. The date dessert seemed small, as there were only two dates, albeit large ones, with just a little mascarpone, but we were all stuffed at the end of our dinner. We shared a bottle of pleasant, uncomplicated white wine whose name I forget with our meal. It cost $33, and even so, including a bottle of Lurisia acqua minerale as well, our total came to $60 apiece including a good tip for our waitress. I love Lupa!

It should be noted that Mark Ladner is the chef at Lupa and appears to have a pretty free hand with the menu -- so, in this case, it appears that he is inspired in his use of farrotto.

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we shared a delicious dish of chicken livers with fennel, hearts of palm, and red onion, topped with sprigs of thyme;

That sounds wonderful! How was that offered? Was it a daily special? Was it an "antipasto"?

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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It was not a daily special but an "addition to the menu" recited for us by our waitress. It's a primo piatto, but we shared it as if it were an appetizer.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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As I say, it sounds delicious! Was there a pasta involved? I thought that all of the primi piatti there were pastas, that's what has me so curious. (Sorry to be giving you a hard time). Thanks. I also LOVE Lupa and agree with everything you've posted about the place!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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  • 1 month later...

Went to Lupa last night, and had just a fabulous meal (again).

Started with some of the "verdure" - the 'hot and cold' spinach was the only disappointment - so cold as to be almost frozen. The roasted eggplant with whipped ricotta di buffala and a hint of tomato was obscenely delicious, as were the "white beans al fiasco" - white beans with herbs in a spectacular olive oil. Accompanied by some superb Prosciutto di Parma, this made a great first course.

We had to try the "Oxtail Crocchetta" and the Scrambled Ceasar Salad, and had those as an intermediate course. Both were sublime. For a third course we had half-orders (whole portions, split for two) of the Bucatini All'Amatriciana", the Ricotta Gnocchi with sausage and fennel, and the daily special pasta, homemade fettuccine with porcini mushrooms and pork. All were their usual, outstanding selves.

And the service, at every turn, was the warmest and most professional imaginable. They really don't miss a trick!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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