Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lupa - Review

Lupa - Dude Grade: B-
170 Thompson St, New York NY 10012
Btwn Houston & Bleecker St
Phone: (212) 982-5089

I was against going to any Mario restaurants based on my past two experiences, but I was in the village with the wife and she wanted some Italian and she wasn't feeling Gusto/Dell'anima so I figured why not give Lupa another shot. I've been here years ago and I remembered the pasta being massively undercooked. Well, the second time around the pasta was still a miss, but everything was crazy fun so I would definitely come back.

Our Menu

Finocchiona (special for the day) ***
Mario's pops has a salumeria in Seattle and this is his product. Basically, paper thin slices of salami with huge fennel flavor all throughout. A big time WTF dish and a great way to start the meal.

Broccoli Rabe **
with ricotta
Simple and delicious. Blanched broccoli rabe where it's pleasantly soft and quite mild with only a little bit of bitterness. The ricotta and lemon zest really makes this an addictive dish to eat.

with Tripe Ragu
A miss for me. The pasta texture was meh - not super silky nor al dente. The flavor of the dish was OK, but the tripe was nowhere to be found in the dish. Quite odd, but a reoccurring theme for me as the last couple of pastas I've had at Mario joints were misses.

Sea Bass **
with swiss chard & grapefruit

Perfectly cooked seabass - crispy skin, moist and very flavorful fish. The swiss chard and the grapefruit were a shockingly delicious combination which I will definitely steal. I usually don't order entrees at Italian joints since they're sometimes misses, so this was great surprise.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (B-) – Really fun dishes, but points taken away for the pasta since I love pasta so much.
  • Service (A) – Servers were very attentive/friendly and the sommelier was so on point. She really made the night better as she recommended a phenomenal wine and gave great background on why it was so good.
  • Atmosphere (B) – Vibrant atmosphere and the feel was similar to Peasant with brick walls and a dark cavernous vibe. The place was jam packed with a mix of all types - couples, groups, young, old. We got there at 9pm on a Friday and surprisingly was seated for 3 immediately.
  • Price (B) - About $80 a person with a bottle of wine. A bit pricey but worth it since the wine was great, the service was spot on, and the food was generally pretty delicious.
Closing Comments
Definitely recommended although I still don't understand why they can't get pasta right here.

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