For those of us who were unable to make the summer jaunt to the Italian riviera, you can enjoy your fare share of Italian aperitifs and pastas in a decidedly unexpected location: the Palisades of northwest Washington, D.C. With the opening of Lupo Verde Osteria, the sister restaurant of the ever-so-popular Lupo Verde on 14th Street, the bourgeois residents of northwest can now add an Italian restaurant to their dining options. (There’s already a decidedly delicious seafood restaurant, Black Salt, and a charming, authentic Belgian spot, Et Voila!)
In our continued effort to do our journalistic, Bitchy duty to both cover the latest, greatest, and newest restaurants and to provide dining options in all neighborhoods, I journeyed to the great north—beyond the wall—to the Palisades. I was joining by my ever-so-stylish friend Natalie, the blogger behind The Fashionably Broke. Natalie is part Italian and loves a brunch cocktail or three, so she happily obliged.
The build-out of the restaurant is not particularly stylish or modern—it’s fine. While it wouldn’t pass muster with some of Shaw or 14th Street’s most beautiful restaurants, it will due for northwest of Georgetown. That said, there’s a charming little market downstairs where you can pick up classic Italian pastas, San Marzano tomatoes, Italian wines, and other Italian sundries.
We began with cocktails, a gin confection served in a coupe for Natalie and an Italian Spritz made with a liqueur other than Aperol for me. We loved both—but promptly switched to classic spritzes for our second round, as what gal doesn’t love a good spritz. These cocktails were seriously stunning— a perfectly well balanced beverage served in a large white wine glass. Molto bene!
We opted to share everything, selecting from a comprehensive menu of salads, egg dishes, pastas, and sweet brunch dishes, each with an Italian twist. By way of eggs, you can have them as a frittata, scrambled, or eggs Benny. The menu has something for everyone, whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-averse, health-conscious, or none of the above. However, this is certainly not a healthy dining destination.
We did order a kale salad to share; a beautiful large bowl of thin ribbons of Lacinato kale, topped with shredded Parmesan and served with pickled purple radishes. It was the necessary healthy accompaniment to the other decadent dishes on the table.
While frittatas don’t thrill me, Natalie had called dibs on the Eggs Benny, so frittata it was. I was pleasantly surprised, as the egg dish was packed with warm roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, and spring onions, exactly the ingredients I like inside my eggs. It was plated simply, served with a roasted tomato and a mixed green salad lightly tossed in dressing. This is the perfect healthy soccer mom dish that they need on the menu in the Palisades.
The eggs Benny was classically executed: beautifully poached eggs, lots of sautéed spinach, and Hollandaise atop thick sliced, roasted tomatoes. The Hollandaise was light, hot, and creamy—absolutely exceptional, and served dripping over the dish smoothly.
Now, to the good stuff. The real reason you come to Lupo Verde Osteria is for the cocktails and the carbs—pastas, pancakes, French toast, oh my! The house-made pastas were divine. We went with the classic cacio e pepe, with house-made spaghetti noodles topped with butter, parmesan, and pepper (topped with an egg, to make it brunchy). It was divine—with each orgasmic bite better than the first. With the butter, salt, pepper, and egg coming together for a simple yet incredibly satisfying comfort to the palate, we simply could not resist.
The Tiramisu French toast is a must-order, and can easily be shared as a dessert for the table. The large blocks of brioche bread were crispy on the outside, and moist, fluffy, and eggy on the inside. The consistency of the toast was perfect—and the massive pieces were topped with a tiramisu crème that coated and absorbed beautifully. The scattered berries were a nice touch—particularly the blackberries.
Lastly, the pancakes were perfect fluffy and oh-so-pretty, topped with powdered sugar, gelato, sliced strawberries and macerated cherries. These flapjacks were the perfect consistency: thin, fluffy, and crispy on the outside—and picture perfect as well.
The Bitches say: A for a house-made, high-quality, hearty Italian fare that tastes like you’re in an Italian nonna’s kitchen, plus craft cocktails and aperitifs that take us back to the Italian riviera. Lupo Verde Osteria is a welcome addition to “North Georgetown,” and a destination for anyone who craves homemade cacio e pepe.
Lupo Verde Osteria serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11.m.-3p.m. (202) 506-6683