Brunch at Lupo Verde
If there is one thing that most people know about me, it is that my love for Italian food runs deep. It started at a young age, but my time living abroad in Florence solidified my passion for all things Italy, and there is no type of cuisine I would rather enjoy. Just a few months ago Lupo Verde entered the restaurant scene on 14th Street, bringing authentic and rustic Italian food to my neighborhood. Brought to us by Med Lahlou, owner of other Washington restaurants including Ulah Bistro, Tunnicliffs Tavern, and Station 4, in partnership with Antonio Matarazzo, they spent over two years planning the opening of Lupo Verde, and were happy to open the doors in 2014 with Chef Domenico Apollaro at the helm of the kitchen.
Lupo Verde translates to "green wolf" in Italian, and pays homage to a soccer team back in Antonio's hometown of Avellino, Italy. I recently enjoyed dinner sitting at the bar downstairs, but on this occasion I joined the restaurant for brunch and sat in the beautiful upstairs space donned with brick walls, bottles of wine, and gorgeous fixtures. There is one round table which sits in the window bay on the top level that is picturesque, flanked by a wrought iron chandelier, and would make for the perfect special occasion spot with friends and family.
We started with the sweets bread basket which included a very memorable warm and gooey chocolate pastry similar in texture to a croissant. The cheese and charcuterie offerings are generous, and we couldn't resist building out our own plate of soft Taleggio, the semi-hard Caciocavallo, and a hard Parmigiano Reggiano. We paired these three cheeses with three meats to make the perfect Italian antipasti: Prosciutto di Parma, Bresaola, and Sopressata.
This was one of the most spectacular cheese and charcuterie plates I have ever encountered. The selections were excellent, but they were also served on a Lazy Susan with clear labels, and the platter was decked with olives, cherries, strawberries, walnuts, pear jam, honey, and a perfect raisin bread topped with a bit of olive oil. I was wowed. The eggs in San Marzano tomato sauce was another home run. The eggs were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of runny yolk to mix with the bold tomato sauce. The bread served on the side was the perfect instrument for soaking up the sauce.
The only disappointment of the meal was the pasta carbonara. While the presentation was lovely, and the flavors and ingredients were all there, the consistency of the egg was a bit too chunky and scrambled for my liking. It was hard to twirl the pasta given the thickness, and I prefer a runny yolk with more of a sauce-like texture. I look forward to trying some of the other pasta dishes on my next visit to Lupo Verde such as the maltagliati alla norma with ricotta, eggplant, and cherry tomato. In addition to the items we ordered, the menu also offers pizzas and other brunch options including an Italian french toast, crepes, and a classic steak and eggs. Finally, Lupo Verde's beverage director Francesco Amodeo has created five specialty cocktails to be enjoyed with the brunch items in addition to offering their full wine and beer list.
This past weekend was a fun time to be at Lupo Verde as they were showing the World Cup games on their televisions at both the downstairs and upstairs bars. It's a small restaurant, but the design and architecture is stunning, and the food quality is impressive. I can guarantee you'll find me at restaurant snacking on meat and cheese again very soon. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday between 10AM - 3PM.