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Restaurants & Bars

Four-pack

Ira Kaplan | Apr 24, 2001 12:52 PM

Had a rare three-day weekend, so naturally I spent most of it eating. Here are short reports on four restaurants I hit.
Pot Luck - Had to try Pot Luck after the earlier posts. Couldn't resist the egg with baby shrimp over rice mentioned in a previous post, and it was wonderful. It's essentially a simple omelet, studded with tasty and generously sized and apportioned shrimp, over rice. Nice and crispy on the edges and soft inside. The dumplings were huge - I got two kinds: pork with peanut and green leek with pork - but only okay. I'll go back to try the good-looking rice casseroles. Very friendly place.
Artisanal - Maybe I didn't order the right things - I kind of pieced together a dinner of french onion soup (too salty), haricot verre salad (right on), and frittes (too oily) - but the food was only decent. The cheese counter was spectacular, however, and the head cheese guy (as opposed to the head-cheese guy) was unintimidating and let me try a bunch of cheeses before I bought a few to take home.
'ino - I've been here several times, and although I love the space, the food has never blown me away. The panino are no better than the pressed sandwiches at Zam's and the bruschetta sound and look good but always seem less than the sum of their parts; the ingredients don't complement each other. I do love the arugula salad, though.
Lupa - The magic at Lupa is missing at 'ino (they're owned by the same people). My charred eggplant filled with ricotta-type cheese was perfect, the richness of the cheese cut by the smokiness of the eggplant. Grilled grouper also was superb. It was topped with greens, little orange and grapefruit wedges and sea salt, and sat in a pool of balsamic. You wouldn't think this all would go together, but it did. You can have a fine meal there and still get out for less than $30.

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