Cafe LULUc: What Every Neighborhood Needs
Although at times inconsistent, Cafe LULUc along with spots like Fort Greene's Chez Oskar represent in my mind the solid and reasonably priced neighborhood bistros that seem to have all but died on the other side of the East River. Reliable dinners and standard brunches are what every neighborhood needs.
Clad in warm-toned reds and whites, the atmosphere isn't quite French, but more French colonial -- at least that's my interpretation. The waiters wear guayaberas.
The food, like the hangar steak with caramelized onions, is grounded in French bistro cuisine but Latin American and pan-European influences abound. Although it's not haute, it is satisfying. The roasted rosemary chicken ($14.50) served with mushroom risotto is crisp and moist and presents itself as the fallback on the menu. LULUc also makes a mean pulled pork and fontina cheese sandwich ($8.50) and a thick, juicy burger ($7.50) accompanied by perfectly crisped skinny fries. One of the specials, sea bass with couscous, was a lighter option and just as comforting as the others.
Due to the "spinach crisis" they replaced their autumnal pork chop with spinach and squash with one in a peach wine sauce. That disappointed me. I was looking forward to a nice fall pork dish, not a summery peach one. Why couldn't they have replaced the spinach with Swiss chard? When the molten chocolate cake hits the mark, it's got to be one of the best desserts around, but I've unfortunately had it when it misses the mark.
Cafe LULUc is staple on the Smith Street restaurant scene and its wide-reaching menu is sure to have something for everyone.
Cafe LULUc is located at 214 Smith Street, 718- 625- 3815.