San Anto is slowly upping its count of seafood joints. The latest addition is Lupita's Seafood & Mexican Restaurant on the corner of Carson and Austin streets. This time via Fili Meneses, who's previously worked under Andrew Weissman at Il Sogno and still hustles in the kitchen under Luca Della Casa of Food Network Star fame in the evenings.
The house-turned-eatery is emblazoned with a bright cerulean blue that makes its way into the interior as well. Otherwise, you'll find a simple setup that includes a breakfast buffet available from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and maybe 12 tables to choose from. It's a tight squeeze, but definitely worth a visit.
The menu itself, broken up into appetizers, tacos, plates, chalupas, tortas, gorditas, seafood and, yes, even Italian pasta, is a bit overwhelming, but my lunch pal and I managed to navigate effectively enough. A basket of fresh-fried tortilla chips kept us entertained while we waited for our orders. While the red salsa was warm and fresh, my favorite was the ancho-laced bottled salsa with a slight smoky kick.
Because everything is made to order, you might wait a little longer than usual while at Lupita's. We settled on the special of the day, a picadillo-filled chile relleno for $6.99, along with the bucatini pasta ($10.95 with toast), and decided to split a bowl of sopa de mariscos, or seafood soup.
What arrived at our table were three heaping plates, all fragrant and visually appetizing. My chile relleno, with a drizzle of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of melted mozzarella was indeed muy relleno. Paired with a side of fluffy Spanish rice, fresh flour tortillas and so-so refried beans, this loaded chile is definitely worth seeking out. The beautiful bucatini, made by Meneses, was garlicky and creamy; each bite of shrimp, mussels and scallops was expertly cooked with nary a hint of toughness.
When it came time to try the sopa, complete with half a crab, several mussels, shrimp, fish and teensy cephalopods, we were pleased by the cleanliness of the tomato-based broth, though I would have preferred the slightest bit of spice.
We were happily stuffing our faces as Meneses made his way across the wee dining room, checking on tables and happily explaining dishes to a roomful of eaters. The 31-year-old chef has hopes of expanding the menu even more with a panini station in the works for next year, but I'll be just as content to work on trying the rest of the menu until then.