Since 2019, Costera has been serving coastal Spanish-inspired cuisine on Prytania Street. The latest endeavor from owners Reno De Ranieri and Chef Brian Burns, Osteria Lupo, will bring the flavors of northern Italy to the Magazine Street. The restaurant opens Wednesday (April 5).
Burns is a Chicago native who attended culinary school at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française, now known as Ferrandi Paris.
He and De Ranieri joined forces while working for the Link Restaurant Group. After moving to New Orleans in 2009, Burns was the executive sous chef at Herbsaint and then chef de cuisine at Pêche Seafood Grill. De Ranieri was the beverage director for the collection of acclaimed restaurants.
Osteria Lupo takes up two studio spaces formerly separated by a wall. With help from New Orleans architect Brooks Graham, De Ranieri and Burns completely renovated the location — adding a large mosaic-tiled wood-fired oven, an open kitchen and a bar area fitted with antiqued glass mirrors, brass shelving and Carrera-Arabescata marble.
The kitchen and bar are what De Ranieri calls the “two points of focus” that drives the restaurant’s energy. Soaring ceilings and glass pendant lighting complete the homey atmosphere.
The inspiration for the restaurant comes from De Ranieri’s family members who hail from just outside Florence. He and Burns have extensively traveled throughout northern Italy and fell in love with the cuisine. And while Italian restaurants in New Orleans typically focus on Creole Italian and Sicilian influences, De Ranieri and Burns wanted Osteria Lupo’s menu to reflect the tastes of Piedmont, Liguria and other northern Italian regions.
“The menu here is going to be approached in a similar way that we approached the menu at Costera,” De Ranieri said. “There are going to be traditional dishes made with a New Orleans-spin. The connection between the Spanish and Italian cultures is the sense of family around the table — that communal dining aspect that we love. We want to recreate the way we dine at home with our friends and family.”
The menu includes pasta made in-house featured in dishes such as Spaghetti Pomodoro with tomato, garlic, basil, and Parmigiano Reggiano; Campanelle with Mushrooms, a ruffled, bell-shaped pasta with a rich porcini, shiitake, and oyster mushroom ragu; and Ricotta Gnocchi with roasted mushrooms, fried sage, and brown butter.
Other highlights include a Rack of Lamb with pistachio verde; Bistecca alla Fiorentina with rosemary, garlic and Parmesan frites; Seared Scallops with arborio, Parmigiano Reggiano, asparagus, and Calabrian chile crunch; and Lasagna Bolognese with a northern meat ragu, Fontina Val d’Aosta, and bitter greens.
A trio of wood-fired pizzas and assorted shareable antipasti such as Carne Crudo made with raw hand-cut beef, olive oil poached egg yolk, grilled bread and Culatello with Parmesan and arugula, round out the menu.
Pastry Chef Sara Martin has not only constructed an evolving dessert menu, but is also in charge of the bread and dough preparation at the restaurant, including the restaurant’s pizza dough. Eventually, she will also take over the pastry program at Costera.
Like Costera, Osteria Lupo’s dazzle doesn’t stop at the food. The drink menu, developed under the skilled direction of De Ranieri, includes such cocktails as Bandiere Rossa made with strawberry, basil, pink peppercorn and sparkling wine; Negroni Bianco made with Citadelle Gin, Suze d’Autrefois, Alpe Amaro, Rothman and Winter Apricot and grapefruit; and La Mola made with Cimmaron Blanco tequila, Campari, grapefruit, lime and Angostura.
The all-Italian wine list focuses on selections from Piedmont and Tuscany but isn’t limited to wine from northern Italy. As De Ranieri described, southern Italy offers wine with unique flavors and textures that he wouldn’t have wanted to leave out of Osteria Lupo’s selections.
The wine list will highlight smaller producers and hard-to-find wines,” he said.
When looking for a location for their second restaurant, De Ranieri and Burns didn’t hesitate to open their latest spot Uptown. Due to the customer encouragement that Costera has received in the last four years, they knew it would be the right area for their next venture.
“This neighborhood was a natural choice, and it’s where we want to grow,” De Ranieri said. “Coming through the pandemic and beyond, so many people come in to lend their support. It ties into the idea of that communal dinner party feel that we’re trying to create in both spaces.”
Osteria Lupo is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.