A version of this appeared as several photos posted to my Instagram. Told you to follow me there! I am determined to start posting again, but my photo widget that I use to automatically resize photos for feistyfoodie.com isn’t working properly and I can’t seem to fix it… so if anyone wants to help on that front, I’d be forever grateful! In the meantime, here are some awkwardly sized photos straight from my phone. Enjoy!
Fava beans and blood sausage, ramps and morels: the menu said ramps, but I didn’t taste nor see any – aren’t they way out of season anyway? Regardless, tasty dish.
Green peas, chorizo and sunny side up egg: tasty, but not special.
Manila clams, vinho verde, garlic and cilantro: tender and sweet, the broth offset it nicely with its verdant and savory notes.
Grilled asparagus with sea urchin and walnut: this was a wasted dish. The ingredients were lovely but together, I didn’t think they meshed well.
Grilled duck hearts with mango and shisito peppers (special): omg delicious and cooked perfectly to retain a tender but meaty bite to the hearts. LOVE.
Charred cucumber and razor clam salad: I think there was one clam in total in the whole dish. This was another wasted dish.
Grilled sardines: nothing stood out about this. It was fine but needed some more crispy skin and a little acid.
Baked octopus rice: I loved the flavors of this dish. It was hearty without overwhelming the palate. It was rich and yet not heavy. The only thing it lacked was texture- the rice was super soft and if you had a bite without octopus or olive, it was simply mush. I wished the rice had gotten a little crusty from the baking process.
As you can see, there were good dishes and there were okay dishes.
One of the lovely specials of the night: Portugese snails, grilled and served out of shell with a lovely, garlicky pool of sauce. These were pretty big and very meaty. Happy we ordered them – one of the tastiest bites.
The last four dishes comprised the entire carnes section of the menu. Sadly, I opted not to take individual glamour shots of each dish for reasons that don’t bear sharing… but it’s sad because I absolutely loved two of these dishes.
From the top left: goat, which the boys all seemed to love the most. I found it tender, but ranked third in my choices.
Steak; slathered in something akin to chimichurri. The chimichurri was tangy with vinegar and really cut the richness of the perfectly cooked medium rare slices of rib eye. My second favorite of this round of dishes.
Continuing clockwise, the much-lauded chicken… the least favorite of the meat courses for all of us. It was fine. Nothing stood out about it. With the piri piri sauce, tasty, but very weak flavors against the rest.
Fourth and final, but hands down my favorite of the meat courses… the lamb. Medium rare and also served with the chimichurri-like sauce, this was tender, rich and gamey in that wonderful way that only lamb can be. Not the bad gamey… just rich and musky. So freaking good.
I enjoyed the sides they included – matchstick fries that were crisp and expertly fried, and a lightly dressed salad of baby romaine and radish slices. I am not sure which dishes they each accompany normally, or if it was an extra touch since we ordered nearly the whole menu, but they were both appreciated and nice complements to our dishes.
Final thoughts: I enjoyed our meal overall. Lupulo is 7 weeks old. There are misses and kinks to be worked out, but I can see what they are trying to do. They will find their stride. The dishes I thought ehh will improve. And they will find their audience. I don’t doubt it.
I’m not a fan of the location at 6th Avenue and 30th Street though. And prices seem a little scattered, with a wide range, though the all-Portugese wine list maxes out at $55.