We had been to Lupo Verde on 14th & T Streets, NW before and Chef Matteo Venini always does a great job there. Now he has opened it's little sister just around the corner and Lupo Verde Osteria on MacArthur Blvd, NW (http://www.lupoverdeosteriaalimentari.com/) is a fine addition to our neighborhood dining scene for sure. It has the same feel with a two-story townhouse and small outdoor dining patio in front with a bar on the first level, some seating and another dining room upstairs. Like it's big brother, it has the same vibe, and when it fills up, it does get quite noisy, which was indeed our only complaint. We arrived early at 6pm on a busy Saturday night and while the place was busy, the noise levels were not so high; this changed by our departure, and the music seemed to get louder as the evening went on.
The décor is simple and rustic with wooden tables and chairs(a little cushion would be nice) and you truly feel like you are in an Italian osteria.
Our server Ray was efficient and helpful and we settled in with some fun cocktails: a refreshing(in the 90+ heat)Piccolina for me with raspberry, prickly pear and prosecco and a gorgeous Rhubarb Negroni for Will made from gin, Campari, montanaro rosso & lemon. This got me into a in-depth chat with Attilio Larossa who has a super drink list and even an even more distinguished wine list. He brought over a complimentary drink I had never heard of called the Sbagliato(mistake) made from Campari, red vermouth and prosecco with a orange slice that I immediately fell for as a new summer drink(now I have to find really good red vermouth!).
We started with two orders of the best ever Carciofi alla Giudia, which were huge long stemmed artichokes ever so slightly battered and deep fried "bagna cauda" style with a green dipping salsa on the side(they were just as good without the salsa!). I think this may be Sam's new goto veggie dish in the hood(FB fotos). Will & I split the magnificent Polippo & Anguria, a huge perfectly fried octopus tentacle seasoned to perfect with compressed watermelon, fennel salad, fermented ramps and potato chips; this dish has it all!
A mineral intense bottle of white from Albea in Puglia called "Lei" 2014 arrived made from Verdeca and Nero di Troia grapes which reminded us of our first stop in Italy last summer. Attilio quickly explained it came from right near Alberobello where we had a wonderful afternoon and drank many excellent wines! It was an ideal pairing with our super tasty seafood main courses:
Aragosto e Ricotto was a Squid Ink Chitarra pasta with Maine Lobster, Fennel Leek Fondue, Green Peas, Cherry Tomato and the tiniest hint of undetectable mint. The pasta special used the same delicious and slightly spicy pasta but was paired with squid, scallops and shrimp in a white wine and light tomato sauce. Both were excellent and it was fun to split them. Samuel ordered the Cacio e Pepe which was Tonnarelli pasta with Cacio de Roma, toasted black pepper & Pecorino Romano...it was gone in a mere couple of minutes.
A tasty side dish of Romanesco Broccoli was seasoned deliciously and roasted with colatura di Alici(apologies Sam, did not know this was fish sauce) and aromatic bread crumbs.
Perhaps on a cooler evening we can go back and try the meat courses, but with last night's heat, the meal was simply perfect.
We decided to pack a small dessert of Bombolini with yummy chocolate dipping sauce and only two of the four were in the box when we got home(Sam could not resist them in the back seat!).
It's a welcome sign to have some new spots in our neighborhood and next up is the Afghan Bistro Aracosia up the street which everyone is raving about!