Written by: Steve Stover
Date: May 4, 2018
Lupo, the exciting new restaurant on the Mallway in Upper Arlington, is the sibling of the perennial top-10 eatery La Tavola.
Owners Rick and Krista Lopez offer an excellent Mediterranean menu, mostly Spanish tapas (small plates), as well as an attractive dining space carved from a former bank building.
The room is light and airy, with clean lines. Patrons have wooden tables, booths and high tops in the lively (and a bit noisy) open bar area, which features a cool oyster bar. The 10-seat vault will be available for private dining.
We visited twice, both times with parties of four, so we were able to taste most of the tapas and many of the daily specials on the chalk board in the bar. We also shared a few large plates, including great-looking 60-day aged ribeye and a whole chicken.
We accompanied our food with the 2015 Les Sorges Cotes du Roussillon ($45), Volver Old Vines Tempranillo ($38) and 2015 Pic & Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone (only $25).
The menu changes frequently. So far, we have shared about three tapas per person including jamon y manchego croquetas with smoked paprika aioli ($4), which was one of our favorites. We also had marinated olives & cheese ($3), Marcona almonds ($3) and spring salad with snap peas and asparagus, ($5). The foie gras and chicken liver mousse with orange and quince puree ($11) was another favorite.
We also enjoyed the fritto misto along with fried shrimp, squid, scallops and aioli ($11). Also in the crustacean vein, we had olive oil poached Carabinero prawn ($4) and especially enjoyed mussel escabeche with saffron ($14); along with scallop and shrimp seviche with mint and chilis ($10).
The papas fritas – smashed and fried potatoes with ramp pesto ($4) worked. However, we loved the gnocchi primavera with peas, asparagus and ramps ($7). Other small plates included cod and potato fritters with caponata ($5); seared fennel and sea salt-crusted Bluefin tuna ($8); lamb meatball atop falafel ($9) and Portuguese sweet bread pudding ($7).
On both visits, we had outstanding charcuterie. The items vary, our plate included speck, jamon Serrano, lomo Iberico, finnochio sausage, house-made duck pastrami, chorizo dolce, house-made duck rillettes, pickled ramps, cornichons, pickled veg and whole grain mustard ($19).
We loved Lupo and plan to return often for the relaxing vibe, the thoughtful, well-priced wine list and the overall wonderful, creative food. We salute the owners, Chef Todd Elder, Sous Chef Kelsey Stickrath, and our favorite server, Yusef, on a great start!
2124 Arlington Ave., Columbus, OH 43221
Wednesday – Thursday: 3 – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday: 11am – 9pm