Friday, July 29, 2005

Light Dinner at Lupo Bar Caffe (Georgia at Burrard)

This little place is at quite a convenient location for me, as I use the Burrard skytrain station often, so I was very pleased to see it staying open later lately. I made a very favourable post about lunch there a few months back, and now I've stopped in for their new dinner menu. They received some nice coverage in the Summer edition of CityFood (incidentally, a very worthwhile free foodie periodical - I've found it at places like the market at Granville Island, Cookworks, and Fiction Restaurant) too, which revealed ownership has changed recently - Julio Gonzales-Perini has left the business, but Christopher Riley has decided to remain. I managed to get the scoop on an ownership change afoot before I read this article, through, of all places, hairstylist gossip. So I've been watching this place carefully to see if their food quality and presentation would slip as a result of the change. I go in for coffee and muffin quite often. I'm happy to report that everything seems to be fine, and the changes that have been made are for the better. They are now open to at least 8 pm, and will probably remain open even later in the future. My light dinner from their new dinner menu was quite pleasant. A nice, relaxed place to drop by and have a nibble and a chat after work.

Their dinner menu is a selection of small plates (yes, I believe they do use the "T" word - tapas). I had a glass of red wine, and the chicken drummettes served with a tasty pile of sauteed wild mushrooms. The bones were frenched, making the dish quite pretty. A more sophisticated and interesting treatment of chicken wings, compared to the standard appy of deep frying them. Really good (especially after I added salt). I also had their smoked scallop ceviche, which was nice and somewhat original as well. It involved bits of grapefruit. It was more of a subtle, understated ceviche. Maybe a little too subtle for me, as I think I would enjoy a little more acid in it. Dishes are very reasonably priced too. I love the room (red walls), the location, the very friendly staff, and the combination of a very casual space (due to the take-out counter, the television, and the fact that they are a cafe) with interesting and beautifully presented food. The flavours of the two dishes were good, but I'm not raving about least not yet. But my interest is definitely peaked, and I'm sure I'm going to go back to poke around the rest of their menu. I'm trying to figure out why I like this place so much, and I think much of it has to do with how nice the staff have been to me on every visit. Truly snob-free. Is this due to Italian hospitality? Or is it that these folks have been in the high-end restaurant business long enough to know what they're doing, and that they have a fine appreciation for food and drink? Probably all of that. Oh, and I like their coffee too.


urban[e]nomad said...

Tried their carpaccio with crispy cheese and the halibut wrapped in prosciutto, and both were excellent. Made for a good post-concert snack after a concert at the Cathedral.

Since the breakfast and lunch menus are posted on the wall, one could reasonably expect that they might also be serving a version of the lunch menu in addition to tapas. This is NOT the case -- if you go in expecting to be able to get a fresh panini with salad and soup at 7pm as your main, you probably won't be able to get it. If I were their interior designer, I'd remove the wall menu entirely just to avoid this piece of potential confusion. Given the quality of the tapas, it's a minor quibble, but there you go.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comment! I must say I'm a bit surprised that they didn't whip you up whichever panini you wanted, rather than pointing out the ones leftover in the display case. Since they are grilled after you order, they probably would be still okay (compared to a cold sandwich), but you're right, with the sign, I would have expected it all to be available too. Btw, I've now had their mussels and clams in saffron cream sauce ($6) and a pasta special ($14) of farfalle with chorizo and artichokes in a cream sauce. Both were delightful, but might have been better served with a spear of toast or something. I wound up ordering some bread (off menu)and they were very nice and accomodated me , bringing me really nice multigrain bread, lightly toasted. In retrospect, the pasta portion could be larger, since at $14, it is more of a main, but it didn't bother me at the time.