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Restaurant Lulu - San Francisco Review

Restaurant Lulu San Francisco

Restaurant Lulu is a great open warehouse style nice restaurant with a wood-burning roasting oven. All of the food at Lulu is served family style to share with friends. We paid a recent visit to Lulu on a Friday night and it was one busy place. The room is one very large and open square with a high ceiling. Active conversations permeate the restaurant for engaged diners. When we arrived, Restaurant Lulu was quite busy seating a banquet room. After waiting for the hostess service, we took a seat at the full bar. There is also a separate wine bar and an extremely extensive wine list spanning many pages. We enjoyed a bottle of Rombauer Merlot for $55 with excellent bar service. We were seated about 15 minutes after our reservation time, which was no problem as we were already relaxing at the bar. One comment on Lulu - the hostess service could use some improvement. A combination of attitude and disorganization for the hostess area did not make for the best mix.

We were seated in the center of the cavernous Restaurant Lulu dining room. Tables are set quite close as is common in San Francisco. However with the general noise level of conversations you can enjoy a relatively private meal with your companion. The dinner menu allows for a variety of combinations to share including wood-fired pizzas, small plates, antipastis, and oysters. We decided to sample the "3 choice antipasti" and tried a plate of beets (yellow & red); a cheese tart; and fig and melon. These were excellent. The vegetables were fresh, tasty, and unusual - and the goat cheese tart was made just right. This plate was a great start to the meal. The exact dishes were roasted beets with walnuts and ricotta salata; leek, goat cheese, and bacon tart; and summer melon and black mission figs with sliced prosciutto. The three antipasti items cost was $14.50.

We relaxed for a while at Restaurant Lulu while our main entrees were prepared. We ordered the fennel scented pork loin with olive oil mashed potatoes from the oak fired rotisserie ($17). My companion tried the roasted black cod with rainbow chart, Christmas lima beans, fine herbs, and toasted baguette ($26). You can add vegetables and sides to your meal -- we added the carrots and sugar snap peas with red pearl onions and thyme; and the pole beans with whole grain mustard vinaigrette (each of these two dishes was about $5).

All of the food was excellent-- the vegetables were fresh and thoughtfully prepared, and the meats were cooked just right. The smoked flavor in the pork was delicious. One note - some of the mixes in the vegetables were not quite as shown on the menu. For example, the carrots and snap peas were about 95% carrots.

For desert, we enjoyed the Profitores (~$8) filled with a fragrant and flavorful homemade coffee ice cream; covered in a delicious and slightly bitter chocolate sauce with almonds. The dessert was really special and a big hit with our table.

We highly recommend Restaurant Lulu as a San Francisco experience. Its got great food, vibrant atmosphere, and not priced out of this world. We were out for about $100 with tip & tax, excluding that bottle of Merlot. Reservations are highly recommended, and valet parking is available for $11 plus tip (2005). We've included We review some excerpts from the Restaurant Lulu menu for your dining pleasure:

Oysters & Shellfish - Fruits de Mer Platters with a selection of Oysters, Clams, and Prawns $25 - $49
Oysters: Malpeque (PEI); Eld Inlet (WA); Summer Ice (BC); Barron Point (WA); Kumamoto (OR); Steamboat (WA). ~$2.50 each
Antipasti Select 3 for ~$15
Roasted Beets with Walnuts and Ricotta Salata Olives with Garlic, Rosemary, and Lemon
Duck Liver Mousse with Dijon Mustard and Cornichons Fromage Fort with Crostini and Chives
Leek, Goat Cheese, and Bacon Tart Cured Salmon Crostini with Fennel
Heirloom Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Chili Flakes and Mint House Cured Anchovies with Baguette and Parsley
Summer Melon and Black Mission Figs with Sliced Prosciutto Rabit Rillettes with Tomato-Onion Jam
Small Plates Most around $10
Fennel and Potato Soup with Parmesan and Chervil Bowl of Baby Lettuces, Herbs, and Bread with Zinfadel Vinaigrette
Fritto Misto of Artichokes, Fennel, and Lemon with Aioli and Parmesan Chopped Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber, Fennel, and Romaine
Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels with Drawn Butter Grilled Octopus and Mussel Salad with Oven Dried Tomatoes, Preserved Lemon, and Frisee
Baked Chevre with Pesto, Red Pepper Relish, and Grilled Olive Bread Grilled Sardines Escabeche with Spring Onion, Radish, and Arugula
Endive and Watercress Salad with Pears, Walnuts, Buttermilk Blue Cheese and Champagne Syrup Wood Oven Roasted Whole Portobello Mushroom with Soft Polenta
Assortment of Artisanal Cheeses with Fresh Fruit, Fig Jam, and Toasted Walnut Bread  
Pizza and Pastas Most around $15
Spicy Prawn Pizza with Overn Dried Tomatoes and Basil Pesto Gypsy Pepper Pizza with Goat Cheese, Olives, and Tomato Sauce
Fennel Sausage and Fig Pizza with Tapenade and Sage French Pear Pizza with Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto
Potato Gnocchini with Persillade, Roasted Peppers, Gaeta Olives, and Bucheron Goat Cheese Pasta Pistou with Early Girl Tomatoes, Chanterelle Mushrooms, and Gruyere Cheese
Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nuts Chicken Risotto with Roasted Garlic, Pancetta, Spinach, and Pedorino

(Total bill with tax and tip but excluding wine: ~$95 for two in 2005)

816 Folsom 415-495-5775

Reserve Lulu online with OpenTable!

Don't miss Restaurant Lulu's Palo Alto version - Zibibbo. We tried Zibibbo and were extremely impressed. Excellent small plate dishes, entrees, and a lively bar scene. Located in a Palo Alto neighborhood with a door like a house, but a huge warehouse within. Highly recommended by our editors.

430 Kipling Street - Palo Alto 650-328-6722

Reserve Zibibbo online with OpenTable!


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