It's certainly much more low-key than dinner. On one occasion not long after noon, I joined several other solo diners, and even though the house filled up not long after, I enjoyed a leisurely hour-and-a-half at the bar wending my way through Memoirs of Hadrian. Ate well, too.
For my pasta, the offal added a rich accent to pennette con trippa alla Romana (immediately below; $12), which had a peppery tone that rose, then leveled off. Since I'm so familiar with the veal version, I didn't note at first that the saltimbocca (next photo; $17) was prepared with pork; very rich and very satisfying, without a lot of fuss.
"Those are almonds, not pits," the bartender noted as I scraped my dessert plate otherwise clean of Apician spiced dates with mascarpone (above; $8). Follow-up web research revealed that Apicius was the name of at least three Roman epicures who predated Hadrian (and who, I'll wager, didn't abide pits).
Shown at the bottom (from a more recent four-course, $24.07 Restaurant Week lunch prix fixe): chicory with an oxtail terrine, handmade tagliatelle with slow-cooked pork, skate with sweet corn and treviso (a Venetian radicchio), and ricotta with honey. Lupa's menu suggests rustic vigor more than depth and subtlety of flavor; even so, this photogenic quartet (and another four dishes not seen here) somehow didn't deliver the intangible oomph that was so satisfying on my previous visit.
170 Thompson St. (near Houston St.)