On a recent trip to NYC to attend a Yankee's game with my dad, we jetted over to Lupa for a late lunch. Dad and I have been long time (okay perhaps semi-addicted) Food Network junkies. Over the years, we have gained appreciation for certain celebrity chefs and have had the privilege of visiting a few of their restaurants. We have visited Emeril's (fish house in Vegas), Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Vegas and Emeril's Delmonico's Steakhouse in Vegas. This time we visited Lupa, one of the many restaurants Mario Batali is a owner of and Lupa's focus is Roman cuisine, served familia-style. Located in the "Village" (Greenwich Village, for those who aren't so hip to the NYC lingo), Lupa is a small restaurant fitted with heavy wooden tables and a beautiful bar encased with blood red bricks. The menu offers a nice selection of antipasto, salads, soups, pasta courses and main courses including steaks, fish of the day, veal, chicken and pork.
One thing my dad and I noticed throughout all the dishes was attention to the simplicity of the flavors - the chef really let the ingredients speak for themselves. It was almost as if, they were restraining themselves from "showing off". Often Italian restaurants attempt to satisfy diners with exuberant, complex sauces and it was a pleasant surprise to enjoy not only the simplicity of the sauces but the divinity of homemade pastas.
Of course, then there was the dessert menu. Repeatedly, we saw the same dessert coming out of the kitchen, Lupa Tartufo (truffle). Dad ordered that one and I ordered the Black Pepper Panna Cotta with Stone Fruit. Now here's the catch, now I know why everyone in that stinkin' restaurant ordered the huge chocolate truffle sitting on a warm chocolate sauce, because it was so delicious and yet wasn't overwhemlingly rich. Inside its shell, there was ice cream, hazelnuts, truffle and cherries. You should probably wipe your mouth right about now. The panna cotta was creamy and spicy, very refreshing. Lupa was a real treat, I look forward to visiting some of the other restaurants Batali is affiliated with....one day.