Lupulo

835 6th Ave. New York, NY 1000 • (212) 290-7600 lupulonyc.com
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I’ve been to Lupolo twice now. Once for dinner and once for lunch and while neither of them changed my life, of the two I actually kinda lean more towards lunch, to be honest. The expectations are lower for that meal occasion, and I think that helps this place a lot. Because while Lupolo tries very hard to live up to the New York scene it doesn’t quite stick the landing when it comes to the caliber of cuisine.

In terms of décor, however, I find the vibe to be high energy and equally high noise level, almost reminiscent of a fish market with its nautical ropes, distressed wood and beautiful ocean blue sea tiles- mixed with a healthy dose of New York hip (pictured). In pleasant contrast, however, the servers are all Portuguese-nice. Maybe this is a stereotype I have, but one has to admit that as stereotypes go, it’s a pretty good one to have.

From dinner, the only real stand out was the mackerel spread. The octopus, red snapper cru and Iberico ham all falling into the vortex of yawn.

Whereas for lunch, the bacalhau a bras, an open face scrambled egg sandwich with salted cod flakes, potato and black olive proved much better. But I say this with a grain of salt, or more accurately, with several drops of hot sauce, because it was only with their hot sauce that I found the dish worthy of my love. So be sure to ask for it. Just also be sure to use it in moderation, because it’s muy potento.

2 teeth

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Aldea

31 W 17th St. New York, NY 10011(212) 675-7223aldearestaurant.com

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Sometimes I think Michelin and I aren’t on the same page. I mean, sure the place is good. But great is pushing it. The service is painfully slow. Decor is fine. Nothing special. Clean. Simple. Modern.

But the food, it just never seemed to get to that next level of transcendent foodgasm status. And I had all of the signature recommended dishes.

That said, they started strong with an amuse bouche that rocked. But unfortunately I can’t even remember what it was, because it was followed by so many lesser bites, it drowned the memory on my taste buds.

The cured meats and cheeses, for example, I found to be less flavorful than anything you can buy at most decent delis worth their salt. For example, Eataly, just blocks away.

The octopus dish, while good, is easily bested by dishes at Taralucci e Vino, L&W Oyster Co. and Manzanilla. All in the same hood. And none of which have a “star.”

And the duck. The almighty duck (pictured above). The signature dish that has more hype than a Wes Anderson movie… Was just eh. I’ve had many a better duck dish at a host of places that also get no love from Michelin.

So, by the time dessert came, I was reluctant to press on. Partly because of the slow service, but also because I hate eating wasted calories. Meaning highly caloric without being highly awesome. But since everyone else got dessert, I caved and got the doughnuts (because of their RAVE reviews). And while texturally they are wonderful. Their flavor was again, just eh. And yes, I am about to list a bunch of places that do it better, many of whom do not have Michelin stars… Craft, Manzo, Rosa Mexicana & The Doughnut Plant.

In the word’s of Arnold Schwatzenegger on Opposite Day, “I will NOT be back.”

2 teeth