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Jan 28, 2007 11:23 AM

An NYCer’s Eat-Out Day: Prune, Ess-a-Bagel, Lupa, and Patisserie Claude (the next day)

Brunch at Prune:

We were up early last Saturday and decided try for the first seating brunch at Prune. It’s our second time at Prune and, admittedly, our first experience did not parallel most of the positive reviews on this board. This time around, I had a very good oyster omelet, where the fresh-tasting breaded oysters were enveloped in a “wet” omelet, slightly topped with remoulade and accompanied by a very nice small bowl of red Tabasco sauce mixed with cream cheese (I think). My wife had the spaghetti carbonara, generously cheesed and which tasted good, but was slightly on the dry side. A glass of their bloody mary with a shot of beer chaser nicely complemented my omelet and started my day on an upbeat note.

This experience fared better than our earlier one, but we still reserve our vote on Clinton Street Baking as the best brunch in the area. Yet, we will not hesitate to dine at Prune if presented the next opportunity.

Ess-a-Bagel for Lunch:

As we decided to make that we will attempt to secure an unreserved table at Lupa for dinner, we stopped at Ess-a-Bagel on 21st and 1st on our way home, not to eat in, but to brown bag a light bagel lunch. We ordered, took home and split an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese. I’ve already stated my view on these bagels on an earlier post and my opinion have been reinforced - these bagels are some of the best anywhere in the continental U.S.! This lunch went very well with a couple of glasses of a 2004 Bordeaux that I intentionally left out and stashed from last night’s dinner just to determine it’s potential.

Our Dinner at Lupa:

We got there at 7:30, and just as we’ve lucked out during all 4 times we went last year, this time we didn’t even have to wait the customary 15 minutes by the bar, as there was an available table for 2 on the sidewalk-extension portion of the restaurant. Other than the occasional blaring horns from impatient (who’s not in New York) cab drivers waiting for the green light on the Houston Street corner, this area was much quieter than the main inside dining area.

Skipping appetizers, we shared a glorious pasta primi of penette with tripe and tomato sauce; and also happily went for the tagliatelle with pork shoulders secondi. For their prices, these pasta dishes have got to be the best QPR in the island today.

For our mains, we went with our go to constant Saturday special of pan-fried lamb chops on beans and a very juicy chicken marinated on black pepper and olive-oil. The chicken was delicious, while the grilled glazed oranges and brussels sprouts (not my favorite vegetable) sides were also terrific and very complementary. These simply- prepared foods epitomizing, and staying true to, their Italian trattoria roots, are such comfort especially during that cold Saturday night here in NYC.

Dessert was a shared panna cotta which the wife liked very much.

All these were washed down with a well-priced bottle of a 1999 Osvaldo Viberti Barolo a medium-to-big bodied wine, earthy, sufficiently ripe Nebbiolo fruit, and despite its young age, was very nicely accessible during the dinner.

The following day’s breakfast – Claude’s:

This didn’t happen as we decided to stay in and whip up some scrambled eggs. But we already all know how good Claude’s croissants are, anyway. Besides, a nice thick piece of dry-aged NY strip loin from our neighborhood butcher, Simchik meats, awaits my hot grill for our dinner this evening.

I realize that I will have to pay for this uncommon exuberance with additional distance and minutes during my daily runs next week, but all in all, this was good way to end a crazy week at work and to get ready for more of the upcoming week’s grind.

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  1. My favorite dessert at Lupa is their tartuffo which is always good if you like chocolate. Lupa has always been a favorite resto spot since I moved to NYC in 2000 specifically for their pastas. I also prefer Clinton St. Baking Co over Prune which I don't seem to enjoy for any time of the day - dinner there was nothing great either and certainly not reasonably priced. I passed by Claude the other day on my way to dinner and off course didn't make it to any of his croissants but, were able to take home his still yummy coffee eclairs and palmiers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nyufoodie

      I have not had any disappointing pasta dish at Lupa. One of my favorite, the orrochiete with sausage was available as that night's special. I passed on it, just so we can sample the tagliatelle and we were not disappointed.

    2. I've been dying to try Lupa, but may not be able to because of reservations & scheduling. Can those of you who've been there recommend another restaurant? I've been to Otto, but have heard such wonderful things about everything at Lupa... or, could you tell me the likelihood of someone canceling a reservation & us getting to eat before 11pm? Thanks for any tips, super envious of all of your meals...

      3 Replies
      1. re: bbc

        Lupa takes walk-ins with a wait of varying length depending on what day and what time of day you go. If Lupa doesn't work for you, Crispo is a great alternative.

        1. re: bbc

          I would highly recommend that you try walking in the early side - definitely before 6:30pm. There usually less busy from Sunday to Tuesday nights. I usually just order a platter of their cured meats, a salad and then pastas in lieu of entrees. The tartufo dessert is a must if you like chocolate and hazelnut and I also like there ricotta cheese served with honey - simply delish!

          1. re: bbc

            it might be dumb luck, but i've gotten same-day reservations by phone the last few times i've been.