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Lupulo is George Mendes's new place in the Eventi Hotel on 6th Ave. & 29th St. (does that neighborhood have a name? The Ace District?). (I don't think NoMad can extend to 6th Ave. -- or really above 27th or 28th St.)

 

Lupulo means "hops". It's a cervejaria, which is Portuguese for brewpub.* They have them in Lisbon. They have them in Newark. And now we have one in this unnamed neighborhood (although, to be clear, they don't make their own beer) (and neither do the ones in Newark).

 

It opened last Friday. I know it's idiotic to go to restaurants on opening night -- and, for that matter, on a Friday night -- but I really wanted to show my support for Chef Mendes. So eager was I that I even dragged someone who had already been to a friends and family there and was gunning for that new izakaya on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. We got there around 10.

 

Now, to get the disclosures out of the way, obviously my friend and I are known to the house -- and I, I now know, am specifically known as an internet poster.** We certainly got special treatment. But although they cleared out some space for us at the bar and gave us some extra servings, I don't think they gave us especially good cuts or anything.

 

The room is, in fact, dominated by the bar. The tables surrounding it seem incidental. I wouldn't comment on service on opening night, but I will comment on the service format they've adopted. You get waitress service even at the bar. To me, that's the worst of both worlds. The relative discomfort of bar dining without the immediate access to service that bar diners get used to. Nice friendly bar scene, though.

The beer list is, to my taste, outstanding. The head beer guy and other bar staff are moonlighting from Torst.

 

I very much enjoyed the food. Standout dishes were the shrimp turnovers jolted with paprika, the fava beens with blood sausage, the grilled sardines (duh), and the charcoaled leg of lamb. We had other things, too, and none was bad. While this counts as comfort food, the various flavor accents and ingredients distinctive to Portugal keep things interesting. Anyone who's sat at the kitchen counter at Aldea knows how attentive Chef Mendes is, and how exactlingly he runs a kitchen. But, while he's opening the kitchen at Lupulo now, this food will be fine without him, after his inevitable return to Aldea.

 

Which brings us to the first comparison. Obviously, Lupulo is nowhere near as fine as Aldea. It isn't meant to be. And maybe, just maybe, Lupulo isn't quite as good at being what it's trying to be (yet) as Aldea is. But this is quibbling. Lupulo serves delicious food and is very enjoyable.

 

Which brings us to the second comparison. How does Lupulo compare to places in the Ironbound District of Newark? The answer is pretty much what you'd expect. Lupulo's menu is more limited and less "interesting". The ingredients and kitchen technique are infinitely better. This doesn't replace a trip to the Ironbound District, but it's hard to avoid the objective judgment that Lupulo is significantly better. (The beer list is like cosmically better.)

 

I expected to like Lupulo a lot, and I did. I highly recommend it. I really can't imagine anyone's not liking it. A lot.

 

COMP DISCLOSURE: An extra sardine. Some "dessert" beer. Maybe other stuff.

____________________________________________________________

* It's also Portuguese for brewery -- but that's not the relevant sense.

 

** Chef Mendes comes over to greet us.

 

CHEF MENDES: I see you snuck in here.

 

ME: [no response]

 

CHEF MENDES (coming back later): I said, I see you snuck in here.

 

ME: Oh. I didn't even get that.

 

CHEF MENDES: I did.

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Lupulo is George Mendes's new place in the Eventi Hotel on 6th Ave. & 29th St. (does that neighborhood have a name? The Ace District?). (I don't think NoMad can extend to 6th Ave. -- or really a

If all I need is a bar in that neighborhood, I am probably not going to pick Lupulo, just as I wouldn't pick The Breslin--because I expect it to be slammed, and just a bar is easy to find.   To be f

Can we launch a Kickstarter to finance a better low-light camera for Wilfrid? Maybe a Sony RX100 or the like?

Borderline garment district? Anyway it's very near where I spend some of my days. I looked through the window today. :)

 

It's a hotel restaurant, of course, replacing one called Humphrey. Or maybe The Humphrey. Looking forward to it, but making myself stay away for at least the first week.

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Hotel restaurant.

 

Hopefully the hotel will do something with the indoor/outdoor dining space behind the building in time for the good weather. They seem to have ripped out the bar and food court which operated last summer (they have great internal and external big screens for sport, etc).

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Talking to George and the (temp) GM, I think it's only minimally connected with the hotel. Simply a lessee of storefront space. More like No. 7 Sandwich in the Ace than like The Breslin. I don't think there will be any interchange with the lobby, entry only from the street.

 

The hotel restaurant in the Eventi was, you'll recall, on the second floor, where Chodorow had that Basque place.

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Talking to George and the (temp) GM, I think it's only minimally connected with the hotel. Simply a lessee of storefront space. More like No. 7 Sandwich in the Ace than like The Breslin. I don't think there will be any interchange with the lobby, entry only from the street.

 

The hotel restaurant in the Eventi was, you'll recall, on the second floor, where Chodorow had that Basque place.

 

And then Humphrey (Lupulo is not in the Humphrey space after all).

 

Huge amounts of space in and outside that hotel, but they keep changing their minds about usage (I used to work around the corner).

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Okay, let me clear up confusion I have helped to sow.

 

I thought Humphrey was on the ground floor (never went in), but in fact it's what replaced Bar Basque on the second floor and it's still there. The ample scaffolding around the front of the hotel may be concealing the sign. Humphrey is featured as hotel dining on the hotel's website.

 

I agree Lupulo is in a different, storefront space, so I withdraw my "hotel restraurant" appelation.

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