Bocca Lupo (391 Henry Street, at the corner or Warren St., 718-243-2522) is a sweet place. Low lighting, exposed brick and dark wood and big glass windows make it cozy & spacious at the same time. There's also such a variety of dishes to choose from, and small plates as well, that enables you to sample a number of items, and it's great for sharing too! I was there for dinner almost a year and a half ago, so I was glad to go back recently with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. We ended up bumping into old friends, so it's a meeting place of sorts as well!
We started with an assortment of Bruschetta. The Cannellini Bean Puree with Olive Tapenade was delicate and garlicky, the Prosciutto was broad and salty, the Sausage, Fennel and Carmelized Cipolle was juicy and delicious and the Grilled Gggplant was earthy & tender.
We also got an order of the Roasted Beet Salad with Ricotta and Pignoli. The ricotta was creamy and light, the plentiful pine nuts provided a nice crunch and the salt & pepper brought out the flavor of the earthy beets.
We also tried some of their specials - a spinach pasta with mushrooms in a light cream sauce covered with grated cheese,
and the lamb chops which were beautifully presented with rosemary and a balsamic glaze. They were soft, tender and delicious with very little fat.
The Panini are also really great, in interesting & decadent combinations like the Proscuitto, Porchetta, Pepperoncini & Piave. Phew, this was one incredible sandwich, full flavored & meaty with the earthy Piave almost melted and the pickled, spicy pepperoncini to cut through the richness of the meat.
Even though we were pretty full at this point, the three of us thought we could split one dessert, so we ordered the Panna Cotta with strawberry & mint. It wasn't as creamy as I like it, and the mint was a little odd. It was light, mild and soothing. (Excuse the shadows, I was trying to be subtle with the flash.)
Bocca Lupo is great and I highly recommend it - for romantic dinners for two, dinner with a group of friends, or for family outings.