When “Mike’s Washington Watch” began including restaurants in 1998, restaurants chosen then and now had been around for a while and had decent reputations.
Using the same standards to select the first 411 restaurants reported on in WW, there is no way that BOCCA Al Lupo would be included on the list, at least at this time, because it is so new.
Debbie and I had seen the signs indicating that a new restaurant had opened on Wisconsin Avenue.
Given its location, Debbie called/emailed the restaurant to see whether it is handicapped accessible. She received the following email.
“Unfortunately, the building is not. The space we took over was grandfathered. The front steps are long and wide and I believe there are only four down in all. There is a handrail.”
Even though this is a new restaurant, the fact that it is replacing a previous restaurant location means it is not required to meet the current handicapped accessible rules in DC. Al Lupo replaced the Acouri restaurant.
We went to the restaurant for dinner on July 14. The restaurant had been open for less than two weeks.
When asked, the manager told me that the restaurant could seat up to 130.
Just before you enter the restaurant there is a small courtyard in which there are a number of two and 4 tops. As you enter the actual restaurant there is a greeter’s station to the left.
To the right is a bar with a dozen tall chairs. To the left are several white tables, each with a couple of chairs against a wall.
On the other side of this wall is a long bench and a half-dozen square black tables for two people, one on each side. One person on the bench and the other in a chair. Debbie was seated on the bench and I across the table from her. One can move one or more of the tables to make a table for a larger number of people.
Across the way from these tables are a number of other tables and at the end of this area is the kitchen with an open window where the servers pick up the dishes for delivery
On the table there is a card with a QR code that includes the menu. There are no paper menus available. At Nina Mae, which also uses the QR code “menu”, one could get a paper menu if you requested it. I had printed a copy of the menu from Al Lupo’s website in advance.
Debbie noticed that there was an error in the menu that popped up from the QR code. The manager said he could not do anything about it. A while later the manager came back to our table to show Debbie that he was able to make the change.
The process for ordering is a little different than other restaurants.
One orders each item as you are ready to eat it. For example, you do not order your main course until you have eaten the appetizer. This gets a little complicated when, as was our case, I ordered an appetizer, but Debbie did not. She did not order her main course until I was ready to order my main course. Of course, she could have ordered her main course when I ordered my appetizer. However, we were planning to share each of the two pizzas we ordered for the main course.
Debbie ordered Pizze Bianche Boscaiola – sausage, mushroom and mozzarella and no starter.
I started with FRITTO AMATRICIANA ARANCINI The menu calls for an order of 6 fried rice balls…with pancetta and tomato sauce. I ordered two.
I then ordered PIZZE ROSSE FUNGHI mozzarella, pomodoro, mushrooms.
In fact, we ate half of each of the two, 16-inch pizzas. The rest we took home and had them for dinner with some vegetables the next night.
We passed on dessert.
The other thing that is different about this restaurant is that there is no need for cash, in fact the folks there do not accept cash. Everything is paid by credit card, and you don’t actually need the card, all you need to do is insert the numbers from the credit card.
There is no tipping. When you get your check, it has a place for a hospitality charge, which includes a 20% tip for the staff. (We left a $20 bill at our table when we left.)
The two gender specific restrooms are down a hall at the back of the restaurant. The men’s restroom door is narrower than the women’s restroom door and is very heavy.
The basic walls in the men’s room are white, the interior metal walls are red. Immediately to the right as you enter is a black marble wash basin top with an oblong white ceramic wash basin. Next are two wall hanging urinals of different heights with dividers between the urinals. Another red wall leads to a good size commode room. There is a red waste container that looks like a hydrant used by firemen.
In BOCCA Al Lupo
2400 Wisconsin Avenue NW