Encouraged by the older 'odes to LUPA' postings and not sufficiently discouraged by the 11/02 postings about the food being too salty, I had lunch there today to my great regret.
First, the space is not warm, not inviting not pleasant. We had no reservation and were led to the back room which was tight and claustrophobic. I was given a lunch menu while my hsbd got a dinner menu by mistake. The staff other than our waiter (who did not ask if anything was wrong when I left my meatball alla Guidia barely eaten and did not ask to pack it)were chaotic and disorganised.
Foccacia bread w/ olive oil came first, it had coarse grains of sea salt in the dough and is not even close to the better focaccia's I have eaten.
Next, I had the much raved about bucatini pasta (I skipped the prosciuttos and pre-prepared grilled vegs as I get these items at my local specialty food store and usually have them at home with nice bread and wine). The pasta tasted the way my cooking tastes when I screw up. Very greasy, too salty, A La DENTE so badly that it was hard and inedible, and supposedly cured pig cheeks were the meat which tasted exactly like any old bacon or pancetta.
My husbd had the pork ravioli which were better (ie edible) filling was not tasty, dough was too aldente. I was geared to have such expectations for the pasta here and it fell short.
I had the saturday special .. meatballs alla giudia (terrible) and my H had the duck leg which was great (juicy, moist, crackling skin, very nice). Our waiter suggested a nice wine for me and that was it. We did not want to spend another minute ther and skipped coffee and dessert.
Both of us came to the restaurant ~ 1:20 pm very hungry not having eaten breakfast. This usually elevates our treshold for being dissatisfied with food. Actually, my H was laughing from the moment we were seated and as the pitiful focaccia, then dish after worse dish arrived because I am so picky about food and usually have bullseye hits. He found it amusing that I discovered and regularly read Chowhound, have lately spoken of it enthusiastically and wanted to try something liked by the chowhounders.
Interestingly, I remember passing by lupa on a warm summer evening and dismissing it in my mind as one of those Italian village tourist traps. I never took another look at it until after seeing the enthusiastic posts. I should have trusted my instincts. That is, for a cheapo rastaurant I would not have been so outraged. But I have eaten fabulous meals at cheapo restaurants. The prices at LUPA, did not break my bank /primi -12 secondi 15/ pricey, but it is so annoying that they bill themselves as enlightened special great when they are not.
Finally, I am posting this so that others may make a more educated decision in the future. There should be other better places in manhattan to have lunch on a Saturday.
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