It's been nearly six years to the day since Chef George Mendes opened the much celebrated restaurant and Atelier-style chef's counter at Aldea. Where his first eatery was known for its fastidious, borderline obsessive plating, his second venture Lupulo, which opened recently on Sixth Avenue, offers a more relaxed, pub-type affair, with Mendes's Portuguese background on display yet again. The name of the restaurant actually means "hops" in Portuguese, a testament to the equal weight given to both the craft beer selection and comfort food menu.
Food offerings begin with the ubiquitous "snack" menu category, including crispy shrimp turnovers ($8) and salt cod croquettes ($5). Moving on to entree-sized portions, the dry-aged rib eye ($29) and baked octopus rice ($29) top out the single-portion prices, with a raw bar tower and a salt cod casserole for two the only big ticket items to exceed $30. The young chicken ($14/$26) has been an early hit, both for the grilled bird and fiery piri piri that accompanies it.
Tap beers include domestic and imported styles, like the Portuguese lager called Cerveja ($5/7/9), a German Ottekolong Kolsch, a Citra Dog IPA from Akron, Ohio and the Imperial Doughnut Break by Evil Twin, an imperial stout "dry hopped with 999 glazed doughnuts." The restaurant also boasts an all-Portuguese wine list, a well-rounded spirits selection and cocktails like the O Maluco ($13), made with Vida mezcal, Licor Beirao (a sweet, herby Portuguese liqueur), kumquats, lime and honey.
835 Sixth Avenue, 212-290-7600; website