Osteria Lupo, a much-anticipated restaurant serving northern Italian cuisine from the partners behind four-year-old Spanish restaurant Costera, opens on Magazine Street on Wednesday, April 5.
In a land of Sicilian Italian restaurants, partners Brian Burns, former chef de cuisine of seafood favorite Peche, and Reno De Ranieiri, a longtime Link Restaurant Group beverage director, aim to do something different with Osteria Lupo. Drawing on inspiration from Piedmont, Liguria, and other regions in northern Italy, Burns’s menu focuses first on pasta dishes, followed by a handful of entrees of roasted meats and fish, a trio of wood-fired pizzas, and shareable antipasti. Pastry chef Sara Martin makes the pizza dough and bread — the wood-fired oysters are served with focaccia, for instance — as well as desserts like a brown butter semifreddo with guava caramel, Swiss cake, and a chocolate “magic shell,” and a lemon tart with lavender shortbread and lavender glaze.
De Ranieri’s cocktail menu leans heavily on trendy apertivi and amari, like the restaurant’s version of a white Negroni, made with gin, Suze, Alpe Amaro, Rothman and Winter Apricot liqueur, and grapefruit. The wine list is 100 percent Italian, bucking the trend of extensive global offerings, with a focus on Piedmont and Sicily.
Osteria Lupo is located on a restaurant-heavy stretch of Magazine Street Uptown across the street from La Boulangerie, and about a half mile from Costera. Inside the space, New Orleans architect Brooks Graham combined two storefronts to create one large dining room centered around an open kitchen with a tiled wood-fire oven. Graham also built an adjacent bar area and redesigned the storefront’s original garage door into a glass and aluminum overhead door to allow for open-air dining.
Below, chef Burns describes five dishes to try at Osteria Lupo, now open at 4609 Magazine Street Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.
Black Truffle Arancini
“We cook arborio rice for risotto until it is creamy yet toothsome, then fold in chopped Umbrian black truffles and fontina Val d’Aosta, which is a nutty, semi-soft cows’ milk cheese that melts nicely when the arancini are fried. We serve the arancini over a bed of the same melted fontina and top with more of the Umbrian black truffles.”
“We use local Gulf oysters and top them with a butter mixture that contains lots of fresh and roasted garlic, chopped rosemary, oregano, chili flakes, and lemon zest.”
Campanelle with mushrooms
“The mushroom ragu is made of porcini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms that are seared with plenty of garlic, shallots, thyme, oregano, and brandy, and is finished with a touch of cream to create a rich and fragrant sauce. The campanelle pasta, which translates to bellflower and is named for its distinct shape, is conical with fluted edges that make it perfect for holding on to the mushroom ragu.”
Radiatori with Louisiana blue crab
“The pasta is named for the distinct shape of a radiator which is perfectly suited for capturing all of the Louisiana blue crab in the dish. The basil, parmesan, and lemon in the sauce all serve a supporting role in highlighting the delicate flavor of the crab.”
“This is our take on the classic Roman pasta, using guanciale, fresh cracked black pepper, egg yolk, lots of Parmigiano Reggiano, and Pecorino Romano. We use bigoli which looks like a thick spaghetti noodle with a rough surface that makes it ideal for clinging to sauces.”