LA Chowhound in NYC : LUPA
- Tom P
This was one of the best meals I have had in years. I loved the simplicity and freshness of the food - and, of course, the taste! The restaurant was small, and I imagine when crowded it might be a little tight (I dined early one afternoon, right at 5, so it was not yet full.) I started off with a selection of vegetable antipastos: Asparagus with Pecorino Cheese, Roasted Peppers with Capers, and Marinated Artichoke Hearts. Each of the three came in their own dish, and I fetl the portions, for the price, were quite large, always a plus in my book. I have had (and have cooked myself) many antipasto dishes over the years, some just wonderful, but these could not be beat. I would have been content just to eat these dishes, they were so good and, as I will constantly repeat regarding Lupa, so fresh. But I am glad I did not stop. I followed the antipasto with a Primi portion of Bucatini Amatriciana, pasta cooked with, among other things, roasted tomatoes, onions and pecorino. Without question it is the best pasta dish I have ever had. The pasta was al dente to perfection. And the taste! Each bite really exploded - not that it was extremely spicy, but rather it was blended, spiced and prepared just right. Very very flavorful. My secondi was Saltimbocca, which means a meat that jumps from the plate to the mouth. It was a flattened veal, tender, very juicy. I loved it. I ended with Spiced dates and Marscapone Cheese, which was light, yet somehow rich at the same time. The service was friendly and helpful; the waitress steered me to good choices, she picked out a glass of white and a glass of red to accompany the dishes, both of which were excellent. The only thing I was not too terrible fond of was the bread they served. By the time I was finished, I was glad, for I would not have wanted to waste any stomach space on bread at Lupa.
re: Jessica Shatan
It was a little gummy, for lack of a better term. I personally like lighter bread. I also don't remember it having that much of a taste. It did not taste bad, mind you; rather, it was a little bland. Of course, I am spoiled in LA - NYC may beat us in many ways regarding food, but Nancy Silverton's LaBrea Bakery Bread cannot be beat.
re: Tom P
As far as I know, Lupa serves a focaccia bread along with those little spiced olives. That could explain the gummyness. I went to Lupa for the first time this week, and I agree that they do a great job. Thinking back on the week I spent in Rome this fall, I developed a craving for simple Roman dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara, saltimbocca, carciofi all romana, etc. which are all present on the menu there. Carbonara often gets screwed up in the american kitchen, but not here. Just enough pancetta and eggy sauce to cling to the spaghetti, without excess. The artichokes were also very well prepared and simply flavored with onions and mint. I'll be going back soon enough.
You're quite right that La Brea bakery in LA has great stuff, but I've also been a big fan of Acme Bread in the bay area. But the scale of operation between these two are different. While I see La Brea as more boutique-y, Acme does a great job in ensuring quality despite its mass operation. I wish I can get a hold of some of that sour batard... I haven't decided which bread I like best in NYC. I'm still working on it.