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  1. Victor Albisu's Taco Bamba opened yesterday in Falls Church/Tysons. It was a rough opening day. When the wife and I arrived at about 7PM the air conditioning was not working and their expediter was doing double duty dealing with the AC techs. We tried six tacos between us, Lengua, Tripas, Suadera and Pastor. All of the fillings were excellent, especially the tripe. The Pastor was not made on a rotating spit and suffered for not being quite crispy enough on the exterior. The flavorings on all the other meats were excellent, better than anything I have had in DC. The house made salsas that were served with the tacos were also excellent. We did not try the tamales, but if they are as good as the ones sold in his mother's store next door, then they are very good. The biggest disappointment were the tortillas. They were flour instead of corn and were not house made. My wife, the Arizonan, seeing the packaged soft tacos opted for the crispy tacos which were made from masa and they worked better than the soft flour ones. For me, the result was like having great pastrami on wonder bread. I hope they get a better supplier for the tortillas. I also prefer to dress my own tacos with, depending on the type of taco, cabbage, raddish, cilantro, onion or peppers. The tacos came pre-dressed though they did have small cups of diced raddish available. With opening night jitters, we ended up missing part of our order, but that is par for the course for any opening night. I am going to work my way down the menu and give them a chance to work out the kinks. As a former Miami resident, I am looking forward to trying their Torta Cubana and I hope they take a shot at another MIami favorite I miss Lechon (whole roasted pig). All things considered, I am very happy Victor Albisu has saved me a trip to Maryland to get a taco
  2. That would be my #1 option (YMMV) in Cleveland Park, then. Great news for Cleveland Park!
  3. Rocklands is opening a new location in Wintergreen Plaza on Rockville Pike. Any reason for me to get excited about this, or should we continue to get our 'cue from Urban? The only Rocklands we're tried was the Glover Park location and that was at least 7-8 years ago. I remember nothing about the meat, but their corn salad was pretty good. The new Rocklands would be about 3 minutes from our house, rather than a trek down the Pike.
  4. Ok so I apologize to the Leleboo in advance, I am sure my lackluster searching skills must be incorrect, but for the life of me I cannot find a thread on the Silver Diner, in multiple locations under diners or American food, or in Virginia in Clarendon. I then google searched to no avail. I just wanted to state that I am really liking their new menu. It's not a regular spot for me, but when you want down home comfort food, which I did, don't want to pay a lot, which I didn't, and wanted it delivered to my door, it really was good. Things seem to be made fresh with more care then in past times. Stepping things up I would say. We got take out last night. I got meatloaf with mashed potatoes, corn and veggie mix with a choice of soup or salad side, got veggie chili. The meatloaf was well seasoned and tasted good, the veggie mix were carrots, broccoli, and butternut squash (really... I really think it was), they weren't mush they tasted quite nice. The mashed potatoes tasted very real. Nothing tasted like it was from a box or prepared ages ago. All in all I was really happy with it. So much food I haven't eaten my veggie chili yet, but will have it for lunch tomorrow. Hubby got a burger and said it was a surprisingly good burger. The menu has lots of choices, healthy, not so healthy and lots of gluten free choices. I will be back (or at least order delivery) more often. I was really impressed. It seemed a lot different than in times past. Anyone else tried the new Silver Diner?
  5. "What's our collective verdict on Hard Times?", Al asks as his stomach rumbles from a lunch of Texas 5-way with a side of jalepenos.
  6. Like so many other foods, real pit beef is dying off right before our eyes. I happen to live within a few miles of which I guess recently has attained a rep as the go-to pit beef spot round these parts, even referenced in the pit beef thread that seems to have died a while back. It's pretty good but not really real. Two things should jump out at pit beef enthusiasts from the get go - there's barely any char or crust on the meat, and it is way too tender (also a characteristic of the "pit" beef at Key Pit Stop, which I sorta reviewed for the Citypaper '08 Eat Guide). After peeking into the kitchen from across the counter, it's immediately apparent that this place uses pre-prepared deli meat, instead of cooking from scratch. Now this may make some sense for pit ham, or perhaps even pit turkey, but not for pit beef. This may explain the sporadic availability of rare and medium-rare beef encountered by some. They do however use real wood charcoal, fwiw. I need to have that deep, dark char and slightly chewy, bloody texture you get from medium-rare top or bottom round. Here's my default order at chaps, the bulldog (pit beef, sausage, cheese), genius in concept if not execution: The ribs here are actually worse than I could have possibly expected. They're completely untrimmed spareribs, so in a full order you actually only get 3 ribs, with lots of the coarser "outside" meat, fat and gristle attached. Very unattractive. Plus they are obviously boiled or baked, lacking any smoke flavor at all. Another candidate down in the search for decent bbq in Baltimore: ...and then simply thrown on the grill briefly before getting doused with sauce that tastes like genereic supermarket or Sysco. Very bland and more akin to eating pork roast than ribs. DO NOT WANT! Note the total absence of a smoke ring: As has been mentioned in the pit beef thread, fries were terrible, one step away from mashed potatoes - yeah, that soggy.
  7. Rappahannock River Oyster (RRO) is totally overdue for its own topic here on dr.com. Of course, that assumes it doesn't already have a topic on here somewhere? I only found scattered mentions in other topics like for Union Market or under shopping as an oyster source. Bet many of you didn't know: - RRO dates all the way back to 1899 and is still owned by the same family? - Rappahannock has an amazing 8-10 seat shack in Topping, VA by the bay with super, interesting and incredibly fresh and local seafood. Has anyone been? - They just opened up their latest and most grand restaurant in Richmond at 320 East Grace St.? - That said restaurant managed to pry open (pun intended) the Columbia Room enough to get bartender Katie Nelson to consult on a drink menu paired with RRO's seafood? - That the Croxton cousins, the owners, plan to open more places to slurp, eat and drink in/around DC/VA? - That these guys really are among those leading the effort to restore the Chesapeake oyster industry and claw back market share from those pesky west coasters, canadians, kiwis and gulf coast types? - That you don't have to go all the way to Topping (or Richmond) to slurp some fine oysters since they're up and running at Union Market (okay, most already know that ) I've now eaten my way through most of the menu at the very popular RRO Bar at Union Market. Wonderful oysters whether raw or grilled. I especially like the Stingrays and Rappahannock River oysters. Raw oysters sell for $2 each. Likewise on the tasty clams. Oh, and that oyster chowder which I think is made with Olde Salts (one of the four varieties they cultivate)! And, the more substantial meals: - the crab cake is both ample and packed with blue crab (served with a very nice celeriac salad); perfect for lunch ($14) - wonderful, large, sweet sea scallops with a healthy peppery arugula salad ($14) - an interesting and satisfying "lamb and clams" dish with sofrito, fingerlings and one other ingredient I'm forgetting. ($14) The bar at Union Market also has a short but nice wine list and friendly servers. Need to get a report from someone on the new Richmond outpost as soon as a rockwellian makes it there. Maybe it'll be me...but probably not knowing how far-ranging dr members are. Nothing stays unreported on long around here. Finally, An interesting Food & Wine article about the company and it's history written by Tom Colicchio Washingtonian's coverage of the new Richmond restaurant RRO's nicely done website
  8. Thank you. Of course, we are dissapointed we didnt actually "win" the tasting, but like someone else said "different strokes for different folks". I think that statement holds true to most food items, as it is a very subjective matter indeed. As for our chocolates, we hope you all try them out and make your own opinion.
  9. As I was in a bit of a "treat yo'self" mood last night, I decided to check out Mike Isabella's new place Kapnos and apply some strict ethnic scrutiny to what he is offering to the DC-area bourgeoisie as Greek food. The focus Kapnos (meaning 'smoke') is grilled foods from Northern Greece, although many of the items of the menu are classic Greek dishes regardless of their local origin within the country. Not wanting to BS around with the shi-shi items on the menu, e.g., kohlrabi crudite (I'm fairly sure the average Greek does not know what kohlrabi is, and certainly not in this economy...) or duck pita (duck phyllo pie on the menu), I lined up some of my favorite foods and those that I thought would most representative of Kapnos' focus. Tyrokafteri "“ Too much tyri (cheese) and not enough kafteri (spiciness). Tyrokafteri should really bring some heat, and I thought the sparse and thin slices of hot pepper could not provide enough heat to balance what essentially was a large plate of whipped feta with olive oil. The fresh-baked pita was really nice though; I always liked that at Zaytinya. Patates tou Fourno (aka Fourno Patates on the menu) "“ My username on this site also happens to list two of the basic ingredients for patates tou fourno (oven-roasted potatoes): ladi (oil) and lemoni (not surprisingly, lemon), oven-roasted potatoes have always been one of my absolute favorite dishes since I was a kid. So, you can imagine they hold a special place in my food life. Isabella's version is good, and more importantly, the dish does not try to do anything clever; they are simple and rustic. The potatoes themselves had that nice golden appearance with some charring, and were neither too mealy nor undercooked. However, in Greek cuisine, you can rarely have oil without lemon, and unfortunately, that's what was lacking from these potatoes. A bit more lemon and this dish will be a standard plate for every table at Kapnos. Charred Octopus "“ This was the big winner, and I could tell from the moment I sunk my knife into the first tentacle. Octopus is tricky to cook (as I learned first-hand recently), so I commend any chef who nails this. This was tender, not chewy in the slightest, and had that great roast flavor. Plus, the green harissa was a really nice addition to the dish. Overall favorite and this should be a standard plate for anyone dining here. Roasted Goat "“ So close, but not there yet. The goat is quite tender and has all the characteristics of delicious spit-roasted meats. However, like the potatoes, it was lacking something to balance out all that meatiness. I would have liked another herb or perhaps a tad more salt on the goat itself, because the harissa + yogurt combo on the plate was not enough to balance. But, I can see this dish improving over time as the restaurant evolves. Overall, I'd say that Kapnos earns a solid B+ right now. Since the restaurant is so new, I imagine the recipes will be worked and re-worked until they hit their peak. However, it's a worthwhile entry and I'll be keeping an eye on its progress over time.
  10. I've been watching progress on this place for the last few months; PoP reports today that it is opening this week. Menu looks to be strictly standard American Thai offerings, but here's hoping that it will be tasty and fresh (good pad thai is good pad thai). They will be takeout only until they receive a zoning change to operate as a sit down joint. I'm certainly not expecting Taw-like levels of quality or deliciousness, but if they serve up decent Thai it'll be a hell of a lot more convenient! Good to see more options around my 'hood.
  11. I didn't see a thread on this so I thought I'd start one. This place serves one dish, Donburi, a Japanese comfort food - basically fried something over rice with egg. Donburi DC is in Adams Morgan next to Meskerem, and opened a few weeks ago. Seats maybe 15 people, sushi bar style in front of the prep area. Modern Asian atmosphere, lots of nice wood and blacks everywhere. I went last night, and it's clear they're still working the kinks out, so I would DEFINITELY withhold final judgement until they get everything in gear. Service was a tad slow, one of our orders got maybe lost? (I actually think someone else claimed our party's bowl as theirs, but either way, there was definite disorganization), and it was one guys' first time operating the cash register. They were very apologetic about all the issues, but I'm sure it'll get going soon. Finally I will say I am no expert on Japanese food, let alone donburi. This would be a first for me. Appetizer You order before you take a seat, and have a small variety of drink options, some Japanese ones included. There's also a free chilled tea to drink.They have 3 appetizer options, we got the sashimi and chicken karaage (fried chicken) ($6 each). Both were good, the sashimi was 4 hefty portions of salmon, the chicken was a little overbattered but overall quite juicy and tender with a crispy exterior, but then again I am a total sucker for fried chicken. Entree I only tried the katsudon, the fried pork cutlet option (forget price, but around $10+?). It's served with a fried egg ontop, with onions simmered in a dark, sweet soy sauce. It also came with pickled spicy peppers and pickled daikon(?) It was good. It was not great. The pork was a little flavorless and it could have overall used a bit more sauce. I think it may have a sat out for a little (could not have been long though as party turnover was high) and lost a bit of its luster after being fried (as I said, there were technical difficulties). The gooey, savory egg however, was doing some fantastic work and really brought the whole dish together. I don't feel like the pepper or daikon lent much to the whole dish, but they added a little variety to each bite. Anyway, it was good, and totally hit the comfort food spot for me. I think, given a months time or so, I'd definitely consider returning to see what's improved. As it is now, its a pretty good price for some pretty good food. I wouldn't destination dine there though, at least not yet. For now, I'd give it 7/10.
  12. Team, We have been reading this forum for a long time and found it very helpful in enhancing our dining experience. Now, me and my partner Enzo Algarme have opened our own food establishment and want to invite you guys to check it out. Enzo, who is from Naples, Italy, worked in the kitchen of the renown "Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente" (certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana) in Naples, where he learned how to make authentic Neapolitan specialties, which we are now making here, in Arlington, Virginia. Some things, like the Neapolitan Fried Calzone, you can't find anywhere else in this area. We also make Palle di Riso (crunchy rice balls stuffed with peas, veggie crumble and cheese), Panzarotti - potato croquettes stuffed with mozzarella, Neapolitan-style pizza (we do not have a wood-burning oven, but use the same recipe and the ingredients as pizzerias in Naples). The food we serve is the authentic Neapolitan STREET food, just like you find on the streets of Naples. Our food establishment is a STREET CART, not a restaurant, so the prices are more than reasonable. We have been open for about 1 week in the neighbourhood of Ballston, in Arlington, VA just outside the Metro station, at the corner of Stuart and 9th streets. We are only open Mon-Fri for breakfast and lunch right now, from 8 to 3:30, but soon will be open until 8pm. Come to give us a shot! Anastasiya and Enzo pupatella.com myspace.com/pupatella1pizza
  13. ... because it deserves its own thread... also Eggslut’s Alvin Cailan Tries Healthy Indulgence at Paper Planes, by Ligaya Mishan, August 28, 2017, on nytimes.com.
  14. Has anyone had an opportunity to visit Fireworks Wood Fired Pizza in Leesburg, Virginia? http://www.fireworkspizza.com/HOME2.htm My family and I have eaten at the restaurant once, and ordered take out twice. On our first visit, the first pie we ordered was the: quattro carni. The second (take out) was the: smokey blue, and the third (take out) was the: fire cracker. Our favorite pie thus far has been the: smokey blue, but felt that the service each time has been poor. During our first visit, the wait staff neglected to remember one-half of the order for my family. As a result causing the food delivery to be staggered. Each time we have called to place take out orders, the phone manners from the wait staff/bartender taking the order has been less than stellar.
  15. Just thought I'd start this thread since people were asking about it in the WLO thread. My parents got some take-out when it first opened and said it was pretty good. We tried going there a couple of weeks back and the wait was over an hour. Definitely liked the vibe when we first walked in and it reminded of being in Seoul. Anyhow, did some research and was able to find a website although it's mostly in Korean but the menu is translated to English with prices. After looking at the pics and menu, I think I'll have to stop by again soon and this time wait until I'm seated. Anyone been yet care to give us a review? http://kt411.com/adf/detail.asp?Blobid=81
  16. Just stopped by this place, think it might be rather new. Was drawn in by the Pinkberry-esque yogurt bar. Recently tried Pinkberry for the first time in LA, and after the first bite became addicted. Love their yogurt because of the vanilla tartness. It's almost like frozen Dannon vanilla yogurt, which I love. Alas, Sweetgreen's yogurt is missing that wonderful vanilla tartness - in fact, it tasted like nothing, just cold and smooth. Which is strange, because the flavor itself is called Plain Tart. The only thing tart about this yogurt was the flock of scantily clad coeds downing it . So, unless I ordered incorrectly, and in fact there are two yogurt flavors - Plain and Tart - I probably won't be heading out of my way for a fix. The idea is you get a small or medium, and have 3 or more mix-ins: fresh fruit or other sweet items. The fruit was okay - not California fresh but oh well. The other half of the small but pleasant space is a salad bar, which looked promising and not price-gauging like I'd expect in gtown. Seemed no more expensive than a Cosi salad, but with fresher looking and more inventive options. Anybody else been here yet? I still hope a Pinkberry comes to town soon - LA and NYC, we gotta be next! Sweetgreen 3333 M St., Georgtown eatsweetgreen.com
  17. I went Matasuke last night for dinner with a group of friends, specifically to try their hibachi. I found the experience to be kind of meh. My whole group ordered hibachi, everyone's dish was in the 23-25 dollar range and came with soup, salad and shrimp appetizer but the fried rice was an extra 2.50. To me this felt pretty expensive for the quality of food served to us. The miso soup was heavily salty. The salad greens were wilted and limp and drowning in dressing. The brighter side the fried rice was pretty decent, as was the vegetables. The steak was cooked to perfection but my chicken was a bit on the tough side. I suppose part of the 22+ entrees goes towards the hibachi chef who was sufficiently entertaining (he did a neat trick where he flipped an egg up in the air and caught it on a the side edge of his spatula) All in all I felt that the whole thing was kind of overpriced. The service wasn't very good and they were trying to rush us all night long. I had not had hibachi in 8 years so I probably won't go back for it for another 8 or so. A coworker of mine swears by their sushi though so it might be worth others to check out that. Address: 320 23rd St S, Arlington, VA
  18. This place has gotten a few mentions - most recently in this weekend's first edition of the Wall Street Journal's Weekend rag. Slated to open in November, it's supposed to bring Portuguese-influenced Indian food from the Goa region, as well as coconut and curry leaf dishes from Kerala and almond and pistachio infused cuisines from the Mogul region. 633 D St. NW. Any other buzz?
  19. Right across the street from the Tony Luke's Sports Pub is the original Tony Luke's, which is a stand with a few tables that is very much like John's. And, IMO, a better sandwich than across the street at the Sports Pub. But you can still get the cheese fries.
  20. My son's baseball schedule has finally stopped, but had us traveling througout VA and beyond this summer. Last weekend saw us heading home from West VA via route 340. In an effort to avoid eating in West Virginia we headed into Berryville to try the rumored Neighborhood Italian Kitchen (NIK) offshoot. For those who are unfamiliar, NIK is probably the best restaurant in Winchester now that One Block West is going away. A strip-mall Italian-American joint that makes it's own mozzarella, cooks everything to order from scratch, and cuts no corners. NIK's Broiler room has opened just off the main strip in Berryville, conveniently located next to the ABC. In addition to the "regular" menu we have come to enjoy from NIK's Winchester, the Broiler room has added a selection of steaks, dry-aged in house. As with the NIK in Winchester, the prices are unbelieveable. $24 for a 20 oz bone in shell steak with your choice of side, and $13.95 for a chicken parm dinner large enough to serve two! While I can't comment on the ingredient sourcing other than to say that (a) mozz is made in house, and (b) suffice to say that the steak isn't wagyu and the chicken isn't green circle I can say that the dishes are made with care. We started with mushrooms oreganata and calamari, both of which were excellent - I prefer the sauteed calamari at NIK's Winchester, but was over-ruled on this order. The oreganata was well balanced between garlic, oregano and parsley - you'll often see versions leaning too heavily on the garlic, but not here. Mains were Rigatoni with Meatballs, Chicken Parm x2 and the 20 oz. shell steak with fries. The Rigatoni and meatballs were enjoyed - the bite i was able to steal impressed me with the brightness of the tomato sauce. The meatballs themselves were large but relatively light - I would guess a ground beef and pork sausage mix. The chickens parm were also excellent - the very same bright tomato sauce worked as well as a topping as it did in a more starring role with the rigatoni. Finally, my son inhaled the 20 oz shell steak, which came cooked to the requested medium rare, and with a generously charred exterior. The fries were potato wedges, and seemed to be made in house vs. the frozen variety. We were far too full to contemplate dessert, and left with basically an entire chicken parm dinner ready for the following day. The wine "list" is short and unremarkable, however they do have at least three offerings from Winchester's Escutcheon Brewing Co on tap, so I'd lean in that direction. We will be back.
  21. Le Marais has a few branches in San Francisco. We had brunch at the Castro location today given that we live in the neighborhood. Croissant. On par with the ones at Tartine. A bonus is that the staff at Le Marais has ZERO attitude which practically ensures that we'll be back. Butter and jam. The jam was nothing to write home about however. Their hot chocolate was basically a cup of steamed cream with a shot of cocoa. Oh well, can't get everything right all the time I suppose. Croque monsieur with ham and gruyère, small salad. Unlike at other places we've been to so far, Le Marais uses brioche instead of croissants for their croques. Vinaigrette had a touch too much mustard and acid. Duck confit with roasted potatoes, mushrooms and small salad. Same issue with the vinaigrette here as above. Plate was otherwise perfect. Le Marais 498 Sanchez (18th Street) The Castro
  22. Wednesday -- Booeymonger (Georgetown). Ordered the Booeywraps. The green tortilla was perfectly wrapped around delicate and succulent grilled chicken. The chef's marinade was a welcome flavor and he finished it off with feta, lettuce, and tomatoes. It comes with fried potato wedges that seemed to have come right out of the fryer. I paired it with a well-balanced and refreshing Diet Pepsi.
  23. You could have knocked me over with a feather. After an excellent meal at Ghibellina, I was strongly swayed that there may be a new king of the 14th Street Shuffle (the Dining Guide Shuffle, that is). Further proof that DC's Italian Renaissance is in full-swing. People are talking about this-and-that neighborhood, but the biggest change in DC's dining scene of late has been the explosion of high-quality, moderately upscale Italian restaurants. And Lupo Verde, at least downstairs at the bar, positively screams Italian. If you've never had a Na Biretta beer, get one, and if you like a lot of malt, get the Na Biretta Rossa ($9) - this is like Moretti La Rossa, but better, and on steroids. Excellent quality, and a very cool-looking bottle to boot. I would get this again in a heartbeat, but there are four Na Birettas on the menu, and I'm eager to try the other three. It took forever for me to get my appetizer, probably close to half an hour, but when it arrived, I knew what took so long: I cannot imagine the labor that went into the Torta di Cozze ($9), and they've got boulder-sized testicoli offering this on a 14th-Street menu. Nominally a "Mussels Cake," this was an incredibly elegant little plate of warm, shelled mussels, sandwiched between two small wafers, with a half-melted scoop of Burrata, a little Parmigiano, and a drizzle of leek sauce. While not a large dish, and perhaps more delightful than delicious, this was not a nine-dollar plate of food; get it now, or pay more later - assuming it can possibly remain on the menu. Lupo Verde has a nice little wines by the glass list, but I went straight for the house white: Pinot Grigio on Tap ($8) from Piemonte, and it was a solid (not perfect, but solid) match with the Torta di Cozze - ideally, you'd want something a bit fuller bodied and bone dry. I recently had a very good spaghetti carbonara at Rose's Luxury, so I thought I'd try Lupo Verde's Carbonara ($14) to compare - there was no comparison. Lupo Verde's is made with homemade paccheri, guanciale, eggs, and Pecorino(-Romano?), and the paccheri is a wonderful vehicle for this classic Roman dish. This was, without question, the finest carbonara I have ever eaten. Like the Mussels Cake, it was a fairly small portion, but it was also a fairly small price - my server came down and almost apologized that the dish, served in a metal bowl, is presented merely warm, not steaming hot, because "that's the way they eat it in Italy," he said. Maybe, but the dish was plenty hot enough for me, and I was entranced by its execution. Lupo Verde's house red is also from Piemonte: Sangiovese on Tap ($8), and while this was a perfectly nice wine, especially for the price, I would counsel having it with a less-delicate, perhaps tomato-based dish, or charcuterie, and I would again recommend a full-bodied, bone-dry white with the Carbonara. Although I was getting somewhat full, I knew I hadn't eaten very much - these were not large courses - and since it was early, I knew I'd be wanting something later. So I got a plate of Three Cheeses ($13) to go which came with slices of bread, walnuts, and apricots. I apologize for failing to note the cheeses, but if you'd like, you can piece the order together yourselves: Lupo Verde is currently offering a total of four DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta) cheeses, and I got the three that weren't Castelmagno. That was about the most non-helpful thing I've ever written, but the portions were fair, and although the cheeses are stored in plastic wrap, they were in perfect shape (on a similar note, my beer had gone several months past its expiration date, but it, too, was in perfect shape). It is important to recognize that I have now tried only two cooked courses at Lupo Verde, and I am not reviewing the restaurant; I am reviewing the individual meal. And I'm going to come right out and say that these were the two most refined dishes I can ever remember having on 14th Street. Needless to say, coverage is initiated, strongly, in Italic, and Lupo Verde, based on this one meal, is a legitimate contender for the 14th-Street crown. Yeah, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
  24. I prefer to let the pictures speak for themselves. It's one of my favorite places to eat at in NYC although sometimes I do wish the aura of preciousness could be dispensed with. Buvette 42 Grove Street (Bleecker Street) Greenwich Village
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