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“Bocca Lupo”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Italian Brooklyn Cheap Eats Good

Two or three times a year, a group of ten or so hopeful food writers sign up for a class at Mediabistro.com called Basic Training for Food Writers. It is a class that I started about three years ago to help people transition into a new careers as food writers. It’s pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about food writing but were afraid to ask. Fascinating stuff. I give you the all tools you will need to become a food writer (other than a bank account full of cash, which would be a nice perk). We learn where to get ideas, how to pitch, how to accept rejection gracefully (see also, how not to throw yourself in front of a bus after three months straight of rejected pitches), how to write a food feature, and what makes a great restaurant review. For two months, we hang out together once a week from 7-10pm and talk food, words, restaurants, critics, blogs, chefs, ideas, and in the middle somewhere, life in general. And at the end of that two-month period, we sit down and eat dinner together. We try to pick a place that is easy for a large group and that won’t break the bank. This year’s choice was Bocca Lupo. It was recommended by one of my students, Christina, who works at MOMA during the day and who wrote a great essay about how she learned to love her boyfriend (now husband) despite his addition to his Fry Baby. She’d also written about Bocca Lupo for class and when she mentioned that Kenny Tufo (Maremma) had taken over the kitchen in September, I was on board too.

Bocca Lupo is an inviting, casual neighborhood enotecca with high and wide windowpane walls, dark wood accents, and soft low lighting located at the corner of Warren and Henry Streets. The restaurant, often crowded with neighbors, kids, and couples, punctuates a charmingly picturesque block of Warren Street, lined with single-family brownstones with wide stone stoops ribboned with boughs of holly, and twinkling lights. It’s the sort of street that makes you think Jimmy Stewart will come running down the block promising to lasso you the moon.

We settled in at a large long rectangular table and looked over the wine list, and found not one bottle priced over $40. Dan, a concert pianist who once performed for Annie Lebowitz and Susan Sontag, who is also an avid home cook and a paralegal for a big bank, was in charge of wine. He picked out a terrific Primitivo for $33. We doubled up on that one. Since the ... [more, click below]

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