Kupros, if you haven’t heard, is the new restaurant on 21st Street between Capitol and L. It’s a beautiful update of the building that used to house Cheap Thrills used clothing store.Â Kupros labels itself as a gastropub, which brings with a it a whole host of connotations. But first, what is a gastropub?
The agreed upon definition of a gastropub is: a pub that specializes in finer than average food. That’s pretty much it, but that’s not really it. Here are some of the connotations, fair or unfair, that come along with the label: beer, wine, European focus, ridiculously good simple food, grease, gravy, low-lighting, wood panelling,Â classic design, plain paper menus,Â and edgy chefs with beards and striped aprons.
Wonderfully, Kupros hits on almost every one of the connotations that comes with being a gastropub. The food was pretty darned good, with some homeruns and a few infield singles. The potted rabbit (part of the charcuterie plate) was ridiculously phenomenal. We all made satisfying carnivore noises while crunching it’s meat between our canines. Even the ladies at the table who swore they would never eat a creature so cute inhaled the little bunny like doughnuts at a cop shop.
The famed, legendary, fabled poutine (theÂ preferred dish of French Canada)Â was tasty, but underwhelming when compared to expectations. Here were my expectations: a giant pile of fries topped with cheese curd and smothered with a meat-rich gravy. What I got: a small serving of fries topped with a few dollops of aforementioned cheese curd, and topped with a (undoubtedly delicious) mound of braised oxtail. Yummy? Sure. But Kupros might do better to put a bit more love into the gravy side of things, as I think most folks are with me on the “gravy is good” bandwagon.
Also, as far as the beverages go, a theme might help organize the drinks. When I think gastropub, I think unique, hearty beers and wines. What they’re offering is a little haphazard, eclectic and hit-and-miss. I’d suggest going for an emphasis on Belgian brews, or Czech brews, or California-made brews, or hard to find Midwest microbrews, or something that the beer loving consumer like myself can hang his hat on (even though I don’t wear hats (I don’t have the head or the hair or the personality for it)).
Good news: Kupros is just a few tweaks away from being outstanding. Bad news: places like Shady Lady, Golden Bear, and Samuel Horne’s will be trying to get themselves labelled as gastropubs to get in on the action. Not too much of a downside all in all.