I had a good meal at Lupa recently.
I began with Sardines alla Romana ($10), in which cured sardine filets are presented with pinenuts, raisins, and small pieces of crusty bread that had soaked up moisture. A three-citrus marinade had been used. I didn't particularly like this preparation, however.
My dining companion had Eggplant Parmigiano ($5). Surprisingly, the dish is not presented hot, with the cheese melted on top of eggplant. The cubed eggplant portions were only slightly above room temperature, and the cheese utilized resembled more in texture a ricotta than what might one ordinarily associate with eggplant parmigiano. This dish was average.
The two of us then shared a Bucatini all' Amatraciana (sp) ($14), which was described on the menu as fat, hollow spaghetti with guanciale, red onion, and a thick tomato sauce (spicy). I found this dish quite tasty, and considered it the best dish of the evening and the reason I found the meal at Lupa good. The pasta, which has a density to it not found in spaghetti, was cooked just al dente. I normally like pasta cooked a little more than al dente, but here the al dente preparation worked well. The cooked down tomato flavors were nicely communicated, with the guanciale expressing itself appropriately towards the end of a forkful of the pasta. The saucing was appropriately limited, but had good tomato flavors. We drank two quartinos of the 1997 Oltiepo Pavese Bonarda 'Fatila' Castellazzo Lombardia ($16 each).
Then, my dining companion and I shared one of the specials of the day -- pork belly. The serving was quite large, and interestingly, the skin was not intended to be crispy, but was more elasticky. This dish was fairly good, and the acidity in the saucing of the lentil-like-beans accompanying the dish cut appropriately into the fattiness of the pork belly.
I finished with a flight of amaro ($15). One brought to mind sour cherries; another, an herby minty taste. The third had more of a molasses feel, having more weight, and had a chlorophylly herby taste.
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