I have never been a huge fan of Lupa. I have changed my tune a bit after our meal the other night.
Although I love the vibe but certainly don’t love the overwhelming smell of garlic flowing up Thompson Street, I have been a few times. We went back this week with a big group. There is a large wooden table on the right side of the restaurant the minute you walk through the door. Can’t miss it. It is a nice place to have a big group get together.
We actually had a planned fixed meal because there were 12 of us (I think). Six courses.
We began with large plates of prosciutto that had been topped with a small piece of salami placed in between each piece of prosciutto. Really good. This was served along side with a bunch of small tasting bowls of different Italian specialties. Like going to Otto and ordering all the different salads. A couple of these were quite good. Shaved fennel, celery and Parmesan cheese mixed with olive oil. Simple and refreshing. Braised octopus mixed with olive oils. Between those two bowls, I would have been a very happy camper being served nothing else. Both delicious and simple. The beets had an overwhelming mustard sauce and some shaved nuts. Onions that had been braised and sitting in olive oil too wasn’t that interesting. There were a few deep fried balls of a green concoction that I didn’t really like either. But as a whole I really liked this course. The community share, the different tastes. I think this is what Lupa does best. I would have preferred to be able to order the sides but on this particular night that wasn’t happening.
We had two courses of pasta. The first was a Capricci pasta. Small swirled pasta that size of your pinky finger with a cauliflower ragu. Very cheesy. A bit too rich but good. The second pasta course was much more interesting. Gnocchi filled with ricotta so when you bit into it the ricotta changed the entire taste that had a sweet fennel sausage mixed with a drop of red sauce. Very little sauce so you just popped the gnocchi in your mouth. Different and good.
For the main course, I went with the fish. A piece of sea bass, crispy skin over a mixture of an Italian grain (fregula) with mushrooms. The fish was very salty and not that interesting but I did like the grains. I didn’t eat the fish.
The next course were 3 cheeses. Parmesan, Soft Goat and Mozzarella. Nothing too interesting but your typical Italian cheeses but it was a nice palette cleanser before the desserts.
Desserts were really good biscotti, chewy and crispy at the same time. A large round chocolate ball filled with vanilla ice cream and dried cherries. Nice presentation and good. The third was panna cotta. Simple, smooth with some large dried cherries on top.
Lupa has been consistent for me over the years. The antipastos and the pastas are really good. It is a wonderful place to share some bread, some cheese, some meats, some salads and definitely some pastas with a big bottle of wine. Main courses, very hit and miss. The first few courses made up for the mediocre main course. Guaranteed, I will be back again.