Lupa Osteria Romana
170 Thompson St
New York, NY
In the world of Bastianich and Batali, if you’ve been to one, you know exactly what to expect when you walk in the door. While every one of their restaurants has a place – specially selected to ensure that each new restaurant is different enough from the previous, every restaurant is intended to offer you the same formulaic experience – good food, good service, exceptional value. While they are all good restaurants with different themes, I think my favorite of the lot is Lupa Osteria Romana. While places like Babbo, Mozza, Otto, Spotted Pig, and a slew of Las Vegas projects typically command more attention, Lupa delivers everything i’m looking for in a restaurant experience.
The food at Lupa is described as a “casual Roman trattoria” – and while they do serve a Roman style of meal – three courses, emphasis on pork and seafood, it is more modern Roman than any sort of traditional cena. What they do manage to do though is offer is a reasonable selection of affordable (especially for the quality), high impact dishes. Secondi’s are mostly quite seasonal, so they change up more often than other “always on the menu” standbys.
We started with some house made salumi. It was very good, as most charcuterie is at Batali restaurants.
For a Primi, i chose one of my favorite dishes – Trippa alla Romana. The creaminess of the honeycomb tripe mixed with the tomato sauce, pecorino romano and mint create a very rich, yet fresh tasting dish. A fantastic rendition of tripe – perhaps even better than my old standby, Trippa alla Fiorentina. I may personally prefer omasum, or leaf tripe, commonly served in Chinese restaurants, but for honeycomb, this was great stuff.
Black cod with fava beans on potato puree. It was fresh, light, and tasty. A well prepared piece of fish perfectly cooked.
Pasta special – Veal Agnolotti with brown butter sauce. Silky soft, with a nice al dente bite. This was excellent pasta.
Because of a small service hiccup, we were given a free dessert, which was polished off so fast I failed to get a picture of it.
A lot of people complain about the service at Lupa, but i’ve had nothing but efficient, professional service. Combined with great prices, and a nice space, the biggest complaint I have is about trying to get in. I find lunch is the best time to go – avoiding the entire reservation mess.
Nice atmosphere. Good prices. Great service. Great food. This is a simple recipe for success, that many attempt and so few accomplish. Lupa is what it is. It’s not 3 star dining. It’s a great meal for a good price. And as long as it stays that way, it will always have a special place in my heart.