Judging New Restaurants – Lupo Verde (reader request)

14th and T Street, NW

I’ve had a few requests that we talk about Lupo Verde who opened up at 14th and T St, NW back in February. Their website says:

“Authentic, rustic, Italian fare featuring a variety of small plates, house-made breads and pastas, antipasti, pizzas al tegamino and a selection of fresh meats and seafood, such as our popular whole roasted fish, grilled sirloin steak and a premiere selection of cheeses and salumi. The daily specials are posted on the chalkboard.

Customers can purchase 70% of the restaurant’s menu “to go” including 50 cheeses (five of which are made in-house while the rest are made from local farmers or imported from Italy) sold by the ounce, two house-made prosciuttos and several other house cured meats. Fresh and dried house-made pastas are available for purchase by the kilo, along with rustic house-made sauces and breads.

An intimate 100-seat restaurant spread over two floors. The main level features a 15-seat bar of Carrara marble and hand-painted Italian tile and a 25-seat lounge. It also houses the Cheese Shop showcasing a variety of imported and house-made cheeses and salumi. Upstairs guests feel as though they stepped into a private residence with lofty ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, luxurious wall coverings, and substantial crown and base molding. Guests will find an intimate 10-seat marble bar, and 50 additional dining seats including a semi-private alcove. The cupola dining table, named the Sophia Loren, is also a focal point of the room seating groups of up to eight.

A gated, outdoor patio is also available during the spring and summer months (weather permitting) and can accommodate up to 40 guests.”

You can see their cucina and bar menu here and their cheese and salumi menu here.

Any fans?

37 Comment

  • Have been a few times now and have really enjoyed everything I’ve had. Think it’s a good addition.

  • I went for drinks and appetizers with a friend. We ordered two beers on tap and after an extensive wait, the waiter came back and told us they were out of what we had ordered. The appetizers weren’t that impressive either- although the fried artichoke was pretty delicious! I would try it one more time, but so far, not that impressed.

    Oh- and- the waiter made a mistake on our bill and overcharged us on our appetizers (he had entered in two of each order!) It was fixed after we pointed it out, but it was a pretty glaring error he should have caught before bringing us the bill.

  • Mixed feelings… My roommate and I went there last Friday night. We arrived without reservations, and the hostess assured us that she would put our name on list, and would come get us from the upstairs bar when our table was ready. Upstairs, almost every table was empty (I assume they were reserved?). After half an hour, all tables still empty, I went to check our status on the list. We were apparently not on the list.

    We were seated about 10 minutes later, on the outside patio. It took 15 minutes for the server to take our drink order (and it wasn’t busy), and 30 to take our food order. Once our order was in, the food arrived fairly quickly. And I must say, the food was AWESOME. Small portions and kind of pricey, as is typical for DC, but fresh and wonderful. Our server did a fantastic job pairing wine with our dishes.

    It doesn’t stand out in my mind, considering the other great options in the area. The service was awkward, and 15 minutes is too long to wait for a drink. I’m glad we tried it out, and may stumble there again but it’s not on the top of my list.

    • Oh hey SM. Mentioned roommate confirms the story. We paid $9 for a “tomato salad” which was essentially tomato slices. Not that it wasn’t delicious, but still.
      The food was great but the server’s uninterested nature suggested they did not care about the poor image they were giving the restaurant.
      I’d be willing to try again with a reservation. Maybe that would make all the difference.

  • I went with a friend a few weeks ago and it was okay. Similar to what others are saying, we had to wait a long time for drink orders and I had to kind of flag down the waiter to let him know we were ready to order dinner. He wa perfectly nice when we did have his attention. It was a little disappointing because it is a really nice space and I love charcuterie, I was hpoing it would end up being a go-to for me.

  • Can someone comment on their happy hour? Decent deals, not too crowded?

  • I went once on a Saturday night (granted, that’s a busy time for any restaurant). There were six of us, and we had a reservation (made more than two weeks in advance because we were celebrating) for 7:30. We didn’t actually get seated at a table until 10:30. They offered us free apps while we waited (when they then attempted to charge us for), and I wasn’t terribly pleased. It’s a little overpriced (even for that area) and nothing to write home about. I honestly don’t think I’d go back. Also, I echo the comments about disinterested staff.

    • Why did you wait so long for a table?!?!?

      • …But where are you going to get a group of six in on a Saturday night in that area?

        • they had a reservation!! that’s absurd. meal should have been comped for that shit.

          • oh i see Not the OP, where are you going to get them in somewhere else. yeah, good point. that is completely insane though, you should have absolutely gotten the GM to give you a huge discount on the food.

    • Sounds like they lost your reservation and didn’t have the heart to tell you (aka they didn’t want to lose your $$$). No one makes you wait 3 hours for a table that you actually reserved.

      • This happened to our group of 6, too. After 45 minutes of waiting, we made a reservation downtown at Casa Luca, hopped in a cab, and had a fantastic meal.

    • That’s unreal. I’m in awe of your patience, but six is not a huge party. For a reservation I made well in advance, I’d be walking (and starving) at about the 45min point. I know I’d give up, get sandwiches at Taylor then find somewhere else with some space at the bar.

    • that makes me not want to go at all.

  • Went back in February. We thought it was good – drinks and wine selection were nice, food was good, and the service we got was fine, but that overall it was nothing special. The exact reaction was kind of, glad we tried it, was a pleasant date nice, but for the money you spend we won’t be back.

  • No comment on the food because we were never seated. BF and I went without reservations and were waiting for 15 minutes up front to be seated (we had asked the hostess for a menu, looked at it, and gave it back to her noting it looked great and we’d take indoors or outdoors). Waited. Waited. Asked her how much longer the wait was and she very brusquely said “Oh! It’ll be another 45 minutes. I can put you on the list if you’d like.” I asked why she hadn’t offered to put us on the list earlier and she responded “Oh, I thought you two were just standing here”. Yes, we were standing, in the restaurant entry, for no reason – maybe it had really good light, or really good feng shui and we just wanted to hang out smelling food? Obviously we went elsewhere for dinner when it was clear that the staff didn’t have their act together.

  • I’ve been a couple times and I can say that I’ve been impressed with their bar staff and their meats and cheeses. Everything outside of that was sort of “meh”. As others have mentioned, waiters were not really responsive. Maybe that’s the vibe they’re going for…ha!

  • My Gf and I went about a month or two back and have no interest in returning. I rarely complain about the service, but our waiter was rarely to be found and indifferent to the point of seeming rude. The food was bland, bland, bland…and pricey. Beer selection sucks and my cocktail was humdrum. The bolognese resembled something from a Chef Boyardee can, both in appearance and flavor. The fried artichoke tasted like greasy fried dough and the impanata tasted like a really bland Hot Pocket. On the plus side, the pasta is cooked to a nice al dente and has excellent texture and the space is really cool. However, mediocre food at high prices served with an air of rudeness is not something I care to experience.

  • Bad service seems to be going around. Makes you wonder if all the restaurant/bar openings are outpacing the available experience wait staff pool in the area. Or have all the hot places snapped them up (the service at le Diplomate is stellar).

  • I went and had a bad experience. Management then made promises that they didn’t follow up on.

  • My husband and I went there last month around 5 pm on a Friday, and we, too, experienced a long wait. We were so hungry after two hours waiting, that we just decided to eat at the bar. The drinks were a bit overpriced, but good and the food was decent. We will give it one more shot…next time, with a reservation.

  • I went there in the last couple weeks for the first time. I am very picky but thought my food was great and our waitress was fantastic (we sat outside on the patio). I live nearby and this is a new favorite and seemed less, well, “scene-y” (for lack of a better word) than other restaurants in the 14th Street strip. Which I appreciated.

  • I agree with most of these comments. We went on a Saturday evening but were seated very quickly upstairs. Our server was friendly, and he didn’t dawdle, but I thought the prices were a little high. Two pastas, two beers, and 20% tip made for a $60 meal. That’s a bit high, in my opinion.

    I thought the dishes were slightly underseasoned, but generally decent, but perhaps worst of all, it was very hot upstairs and there was a constant vibration coming under the floorboards. Like constant — for our entire meal. Very odd and uncomfortable.

  • I went for a work event, where we rented out part of the top floor. Pretty girls in heels got good service…everyone else was roundly ignored. The food they served us was overly greasy and trying too hard to be “rustic” or unique. I actively warn people away. Then again, I just tend to avoid that entire stretch…

  • I’ve been a few times. The first time was on the second or third day after opening. My boyfriend and I have only had great experiences there. We became friendly with Antonio on our first visit when we asked him to make some recommendations which were all spectacular. He recognizes us every time we come in now and is just wonderful. We occasionally go in just to get charcuterie and cheese to go as well. They’re very generous with the cheese, maybe a little less so with the meats. I think their prices are comparable to most of the other Italian spots in the area so no complaints on that here.

  • I went for happy hour on a Tuesday with a girlfriend. We sat outside and the waiter was actually overly attentive, annoyingly so. It took a while to get drinks, but I loved the cocktails. Charcuterie board was great, points for including the names of what we’d ordered on the paper beneath the meat and cheese. Fried artichokes were amazing, some of the best I’ve had. Pizza was an atrocious, incredibly greasy nasty mess in a skillet. I’d be interested in going back to try the pasta, maybe, but that pizza made me feel awful.

  • Went two nights ago. Unlike everyone else, the service was perfect; the food was the mediocre part. Everything either was over or under-salted, and the pizza a friend ordered looked completely unappetizing (he said it just OK). We weren’t impressed.

  • why do I feel like too many restaurants on 14th street get away with terrible service? They can just get away with not caring about their tables’ experiences at the restaurant. Staff need to be better. I’m kind of boycotting the whole area for just this reason. If i’m going to pay too much to go to a trendy restaurant, I would like to be treated well by the staff.

  • They have good soup.

  • I’m surprised to hear so many negative comments about the service! I went with a friend for a drink and some apps on the patio and thought the service was great. In fact, my friend recommended the restaurant specifically because of the service. I’ve only been that one time (and it was a Monday @ 6:30 pm and I called ahead to put our names down) so it’s possible I got lucky or had good timing, but our server was really knowledgeable, made great food and drink recommendations, and perfectly walked the line of attentive-but-not-annoying.
    That said, I would agree the food and cocktails are overpriced, even for the neighborhood. Everything was good but not good enough to justify spending $75 (after tip) for 2 cocktails and 3 appetizers. The price alone will probably keep me from rushing back. I don’t see this place losing popularity though. It’s a different scene than a lot of other places in the neighborhood and there are plenty of people that wouldn’t bat an eye at spending that kind of money.

  • $28 for 2 measured pours of titos vodka and soda. Absolutely ridiculous!

  • I just got home from Lupo Verde with my family (who is picky), and everyone loved the food and service. We sat at the big, round table on the second floor, which was lovely. As I looked around, almost every table had a window view and/or cozy location in the restaurant. The decor and atmosphere is worth going for, but the food is also good, different, and not overwhelming. The dishes they serve the food in are unique. The cheese and charcuterie room is worth seeing. The wait staff was very patient and welcoming. Even the co-owner stopped by at the end of our meal to talk and serve us a round of limoncello. I could have sat there all night. It’s such a great neighborhood restaurant that is not pretentious like other places on 14th Street. I’ll definitely be back — what a great add to 14 and U!

  • Sit downstairs at the bar and watch the beauty that is the bartender Armando. Dark hair, big smile, Italian accent, what’s not to love?

  • I’ve been twice. The first time was a mess. Hostess told us it would be a 2 hr wait but to go upstairs and try to find a seat at the bar. When we got upstairs, the bartender told us that all the bar seats were reserved so we went back downstairs and were told by a manager (?) to just steal 3 seats upstairs. The bartender who had told us we couldn’t sit then begrudgingly served us drinks after we flagged him down each time. Thought the food and drinks were both kind of meh although the charcuterie was enjoyable. The second time we went, it was a 2 hour wait again so we actually went across to Compass Rose and had an entire, great meal, and then got a text after we finished dinner that our table was ready at Lupo so we went back across and had drinks. Agree with all the other commenters about the disinterested and rude-seeming staff. Especially the hostesses. I heard one woman who worked there tell a couple who walked in “you can not just walk in and expect to get a table in this neighborhood during this time” – probably true but sounded super rude.

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