The rain was coming down in sheets as LC and I waited in the car at BoccaLupo without reservations on a Saturday night. We decided to make a run for it, traversing the little river that flowed across the sidewalk.
I remember when Bruce Logue took over the quirky building on Edgewood that housed Ria Pell’s second restaurant, Sauced. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to dine there. Long before she put in a kitchen, there was a funky gift shop called Planet Claire in the front of the space that sold the pottery produced in the back.
Once inside, we were informed the wait for a table would be lengthy, so we grabbed a couple of seats at the bar after hovering briefly. LC started with a vodka martini while I remained undecided; cocktails or wine? Our bartender/server asked what I like so I described my ideal cocktail, spicy and not too sweet. She offered to make me something special. Great, I love surprises!
When she delivered my cocktail, which was very tasty by the way, we had decided on the Brussels sprouts appetizer. A pleasing composition of tiny roasted sprouts, thinly sliced radish, bacon, and tangy pickled green tomatoes was artfully presented.
I switched to a glass of aglianico, a spicy and smooth red that would pair well with a hearty pasta. Chef Bruce Logue’s menu is mostly pastas, baked, fresh, and extruded. His signature black spaghetti is nearly legendary, exemplifying his modern Italian approach. And what sounds better on a cold, rainy night than lasagna? BoccaLupo serves a slab of white lasagna that is pure stick-to-your-ribs comfort food.
For the lasagna, sheets of fresh pasta are layered with ground beef, bechamel, and fontina and baked until bubbly. Then, it’s sliced and pan seared for a crispy exterior, topped with lightly dressed watercress and served with fontina fonduta, a rich, decadent cheese sauce.
The freshly made black spaghetti is colored with squid ink and paired with chopped red shrimp, spicy ground calabrese sausage, and scallions. What’s not mentioned on the menu are the crunchy bits, like giant garlicky breadcrumbs, that add surprising bursts of texture and flavor. It’s the kind of dish you’ll never forget, simply perfect.
More squid ink can be found on the dessert menu. LC and I tried the cream cheese panna cotta with elderberries and squid ink cookie crumbles. For its $8 pricetag, the dessert was on the small side, but satisfied our sweet tooth. LC couldn’t resist the enticing aroma of coffee emanating from the serious cappuccino machine behind the bar, and ordered a frothy, caffeinated nightcap.
We enjoyed a memorable meal at BoccaLupo and look forward to many more!
753 Edgewood Avenue NE 404-577-2332