Press

Mar
18
First Look: Lupo Verde

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: 14th Street/U Street



The Setup

The restaurant in question was Lupo Verde, the newest addition to the now blossoming 14th Street stretch. I was predisposed to dislike the place: the first time an Open Table miscommunication meant I had to move a six-person brunch last minute. Still, I owed Official Friend of DCWD HR Intern some catch up time and with the middle ground falling squarely at 14th and U, Lupo Verde seemed like a decent enough stop. The second strike was the restaurant's strict enforcement of a 5pm open time. Which isn't a complaint - this of course is their prerogative and the rules of the game - just an explanation of my mood having stood outside for 15 minutes in the cold before they let us in. And the third blow was the advertisement of a snow day happy hour special on Eater that never surfaced. Still, here we were.

The Vibe

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Squeezed in the skinny space between Policy and the refurbished post office on T Street, Lupo Verde is two skinny floors that feels like an extended bar on the first floor (the second floor remains unseen on this trip). A six-seat marble bar sits underneath a staircase, while some high-top tables sit opposite, mostly groups of six. Pick a restaurant trend and it exists here: exposed brick, chalkboards, repurposed drafting chairs, industrial style light fixtures. Still, it's got a bit of polish over the whole thing and one major hammer: a small booth-like office that sits at the bar's back corner, to show off the results of the restaurant's cheesemaking, sausage making, and other audience-friendly finishing work.

The Food

Neither of us were particularly hungry and HR Intern was teetotaling for the evening, so we decided to just split a little nosh. On deck for me was a cocktail of rye, fennel, and bitters which was a bit expensive, but every bit of delicious as advertised. For food, we split a pizza topped with mozzarella, stracchino, mortadella, radicchio, pistachio, and honey. The pizza maybe perfectly embodies the personal pan style, coming in its own little . This also means that it's surprisingly small, maybe six or seven inches across. Still, despite how much I might have been inclined to dislike the dish, it's an incredible bite: a crust that is equal parts soft and crispy and sublime; a steady hand with the cheese that balances out all of the presented flavors: the wonderful crisp of the radicchio slaw, the salty flecks of crispy mortadella ham, and the delicate hints of honey sweet.

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The Verdict

Maybe not the best bang for your buck, but an incredibly rich bite deserving of merit.

Food Rating: **** (out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Classy Crowd
Vibe:
Energetic
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)