Pete Wells enjoys most of the food served at George Mendes' new Midtown restaurant Lupulo, and he likes the beer list even though there aren't that many Portuguese ales on tap. The critic's main complaints are that it's too loud, and that the menu can be confusing at times, but the food mostly makes up for these transgressions.
Here's Pete on some of his favorites:
Manila clams steamed open in vinho verde with cilantro and chopped spring garlic are simple and wonderful, especially when you soak some grilled bread in the pan sauce. Purists may be let down to find that Lupulo’s caracois are meaty Burgundian snails lying naked on a plate, not the smaller variety that people suck from their shells one by one on any summer afternoon in Lisbon. But wait until the purists get a taste of the rustic olive oil sauce, spiced with smoked paprika and chopped garlic that is warmed but not tamed.
Wells gives the restaurant two stars overall, with special praise for some of the fancier, Aldea-style dishes like the raw sockeye with caviar, and the asparagus with uni. The critic concludes his review with an interesting note about getting a table at the restaurant:
It needs to adjust its policy on reservations... Lupulo accepts very few, and sells some of them through a third-party app. Restaurants are a business, of course, but profit-making shades into profiteering when the management takes money from people who want to cut the line while the rest of us hungrily eye the unoccupied tables. Though it's an unpalatable system, the food and drinks at Lupulo are very much worth waiting for.
Lupulo currently accepts a limited number of requests over the phone, and reservations for parties of six on Resy. However it should be noted that these reservations are free for users of the app.
Earlier this summer, Eater critic Ryan Sutton also gave Lupulo two stars out of four.