Thursday, February 10, 2005

A week of deliciousness - Part III - Lupa

So this was a few weeks ago at this point, but I should still finish it up!

On Saturday, as the snow was starting, Beth headed to Pelham, Adam went home, and I went to work. By the time I was ready to leave in the early evening, it had been snowing heavily all day. Even though the weather reports had been predicting heavy snow, the city still seemed unprepared to deal with it. Insufficient plowing and salting made for treacherous conditions. Despite that, I love the way New York gets quiet and beautiful in a blizzard. food. Adam and I have been meaning to go to Lupa for awhile. I even waited there for half an hour one night, but when Adam arrived and it was still 45 minutes, we gave up and went to 50 Carmine (another great meal!). Adam suggested that the snowstorm might make for a good opportunity to try Lupa, and he was right. At first one woman at the hostess stand told us it would be about 30 minutes (unless we wanted to sit on the enclosed porch). However, when another woman came over, she said we could be seated right away at an empty table on the far wall. Just goes to show how much discretion hostesses have in a popular restaurant.

Finally seated, we looked over the menu, spoke to the waitress, and made our choices. Rather than do a normal appetizer, we ordered three sides. Sea bream with garlic was amazing, perfectly garlicky and salty and fabulous. We tried the tuna all'Arrabbiata, despite a questionably appetizing description that it was preserved in olive oil in a way similar to canned tuna (a comparison I question being true). Its tomato sauce was good, but it was my least favorite of the three. Adam had wanted polenta, which they didn't have, but instead the waitress had recommend a side of a sort of cheesy semolina pudding. While Adam liked it, especially mixed with the sauce from the tuna, I really really liked it. It was just a deliciously gooey, the sort of food that I love. Yes, it's obvious, but what can I say.

I got a special pasta: a cheese (marscapone?) and black truffle ravioli. There were also mushrooms, I believe, all in a buttery sauce. It was good, but more bland than I would have expected. The sauce was very thin, barely coating the ravioli and lacking any rich creaminess to want to mop up. As I think I've mentioned before, I'm unimpressed with truffles relative to their desirability in the culinary world. [An added disappointment was that the dish turned out to be $25, even though the waitress had original said it was $20 when describing the specials.] The better of our entrees was Adam's choice of "Zuppa di Pesce with Sweet Corn Fregolone & Perilla." I'd voted for this dish over the tuna belly, as it seemed more snowy-weather appropriate. To call it a soup is misleading, as it didn't have much broth and wasn't even served with a spoon. It was a hearty mixture of various seafood, crying out for bread to mop up the leftover broth.

Adam and I were both pretty full at this point, but we opted to split the "Apician Spiced Dates & Mascarpone." This dish was a surprise, as I'd expected the dates to be dried, like dried apricots or cranberries as a cheese condiment. Instead they were warm, sticky and sugary, with a fantastic smell. They paired nicely with the soft marscapone, and it made for a great way to end the meal. I'm glad we finally got to try Lupa, and I'd probably go back. Not everything wowed me, but everything was fine and some things were great!

*As an unrelated side note, we saw Willem Dafoe come in with a bunch of people. Despite years in New York, I still get a kick out of the random celebrity citing.


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