By Corinna Lothar
It took a long time, but Lupo Verde Osteria finally opened on MacArthur Boulevard a few months ago. It has been worth the wait, and the Green Wolf is a most welcome addition to the local mini restaurant scene.
The restaurant has charm, good food, and a fine wait staff, eager to make diners feel welcome. The decor is simple. The one drawback is tables that are small and close together. The space is narrow and with the bar on one side and the tables on the other, it’s very noisy when the restaurant is full. So come late.
But it’s the food that is important. The menu lists four appetizers, four main courses, three salads, and a half dozen or so pasta dishes. We began a recent dinner by splitting a dish of burrata with roasted red and yellow beets, some greens, and a smattering of roasted hazelnuts, all bathed in a light vinaigrette. It was superb, a perfect combination of ingredients: the creamy delicate cheese, the flavorful beets, the crunch of the hazelnuts.
Fried artichokes are another tempting starter. Also on the menu is fried octopus with compressed watermelon, a fennel salad, and potato chips. An arugula and radicchio salad with goat cheese is light and refreshing and makes a substantial first course.
Main courses include a New York strip steak, seared scallops, and a whole fish. It’s the house-made pasta dishes, however, that are irresistible. We opted for the agnolotti filled with a ragout of short ribs with a brown butter sage sauce. Lupo Verde’s agnolotti are not the usual large, flat, round kind, but tiny, lumpy half moons. The filling was subtle, the sauce delicate.
The pasta choices include gemelli with Neapolitan ragu; spinach gnocchi with mushrooms, fava beans, and sun-dried tomatoes; squid ink pasta with seafood; and ravioli filled with creamy garlic, parsley, and chili peppers.
The restaurant’s pastry chef makes a delicious hazelnut gelato, as well as several other desserts, including Italian doughnuts and panna cotta.
The wine list, which includes some nice whites and reds by the glass, is mostly Italian and on the expensive side, with only two bottles at the least expensive price of $40.
There are Italian movies shown on the television screen above the bar on most nights. And in October, the restaurant will introduce its Italian nights when an Italian teacher will be teaching Italian during the dinner service.
The Osteria also features a lower-level Italian market open from 8:30 am to 6 pm. The Alimentari market serves breakfast and lunch with dishes priced from $3.50 to $15. Customers can purchase house-made items and imported Italian products to go. Fresh and dried house-made pastas are available for purchase by the kilo, along with jams, olive oils, pastries, and sauces. A “Lazy Box” includes a nightly selection of house-made pasta and sauce for two to ten people, starting at $25.
The Chef’s Table in the Alimentari market accommodates 4 to 8 people for a seven-course plus dessert menu priced from $120 to $140 per person. Wine pairings are available for an additional cost.
Lupo Verde Osteria: 4814 Mac Arthur Boulevard NW, (202) 506-6683.
Hours: Lunch Monday to Friday, 11 am–3 pm; dinner Monday to Thursday, 5–10 pm, and Friday to Sunday 5–11 pm; brunch Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am–3 pm.
Prices: Appetizers $13 to $18, main courses $30 to $39, pastas $21 to $26.