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Lunch at Lupa this afternoon.

After opening in October 1999, the restaurant soon garnered rave reviews from critics and diners alike. Executive chef Mark Ladner, formerly of the original Olives (Charlestown, Massachusetts) and Babbo among other establishments, is a partner (Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich and Jason Denton are the others). Chef Ladner specializes in cuisine in the style of Rome with a New York sensibility.

Shots of the menu:

Tagliatelle with turkey ragù and radicchio

2004 Lugana Villa Flora, Zenato, Italy

Pepper-rubbed roast pork shoulder with rose petal glaze, cucumber salad

Almond stuffed spiced dates with mascarpone cheese

I haven’t been to Lupa in a couple of years. Out of 10? An upper range 6 to a low 7 based on this return visit. The conventional wisdom is that if you like Lupa, you’ll hate Babbo and vice versa. I never used to understand THAT comparison, chalking it up instead to typical New York food snobbery but now I think I’m beginning to get the picture. I’m going to have to return a few more times before I fully commit myself.

Lupa is located at 170 Thompson Street (East Houston Street) in Greenwich Village.

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