Over the years, this corner spot in Coconut Grove has never been home to any remarkable restaurants. So I never gave it much thought when I first saw LuLu open last year. Boy have things changed....
So when I started calling around looking for a good spot to host my wife's 30th birthday dinner with about 20 or so assorted friends and family, I was a little apprehensive about the "smaller scale" of this venue. I sent an email to the manager and went down to the Grove to meet him and scout out the venue firsthand. Britt Burman welcomed me and made me feel comfortable in choosing their restaurant. He also showed me where a party so large would sit, and I felt that it was more than adequate. Fast forward a week later:
Wow!! The food at this place is incredible. I would describe it as 'New American' cuisine. The dinner menu was small, but each piece was SO well done. Most of what they have to offer is a tapas-style medley of dishes and apps. Here is a list of some of the many things we shared and passed around the table:
chorizo, lamb ribs, roasted dates wrapped in bacon, goat cheese croquetas, fried green tomatoes (very apprehensive about these at first, since they are usually very greasy.....not their recipe, however!!!).
Alas, mostly, I saved my appetite for the biggest surprise of them all....the NY strip. I was not expecting a restaurant themed like LuLu to server such a great piece of meat.....but they served me up a mean, medium, NY strip steak. Lightly seasoned, and grilled to perfection, with a LITTLE BIT of a delicious shallot sauce. The cut seemed larger than the advertised 12 ozs, and I am sure that most steakhouses would have charged a lot more than the $25 that was charged for this small piece of divinity. So wonderfully surprised.
All in all, ambience is great, as their seems to be a "social feel" to the restaurant with its outdoor seating and sofas to lounge on. And let's not forget the drinks!! I found a new IPA to love. It's called "Swamp Ape", and its bottled right here in Melbourne. Never heard about it until now. People were drinking sangria, lychee martinis, and various other hand crafted cocktails and loving each one.
I give an absolute 5 stars to LuLu for management, service, food, and prices. All top-notch. Thanks again, LuLu, for making me look like the loving husband that I am!! ;-)
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