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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Review: Restaurant Lulu

Note: This is my latest review on Yelp, which I include here since they unfortunately don't allow links in reviews.

Lulu's thin-crust, oven-fired pizzas are definitely on a higher plane than the hometown Sicilian-style offerings of my absolute favorite pizza restaurant, Cicero's, but Lulu is an entirely different species of restaurant after all, so to compare the two would be amoral.

But Pappy Long said to always try to do three amoral things before lunchtime, so here goes.

I ordered the asparagus pizza with prosciutto, fontina, and white truffle oil. Now, this is the sort of highfalutin fare you decidedly wouldn't see on the menu at Cicero's, which is more of a down-home, checkered-pattern-tablecloth sort of place.

Just to clarify, I like both sorts of places. As long as the pizza's good, that is.

Where Cicero's pizza is sometimes drenched in oil, Lulu's is crispy and barely oily at all. The asparagus pizza was simply delicious, better than I had imagined it might be, with the prosciutto and fontina adding just enough extra flavor to the asparagus but not masking its freshness. Where Cicero's amazing taste comes from its secret-formula sauce, Lulu's rates as nearly mouth-watering more for its interesting blend of toppings than its zestiness.

Overall, Lulu is a little pricey but definitely worth it for a special or even semi-special occasion. They also have an excellent and comprehensive selection of wines and spirits. In fact, my first time there, I noticed that they had amontillado, a sort of sherry that I had never seen in any restaurant, but I recalled from reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" back around the 6th grade. So of course, I had to try it.

I've eaten at Lulu two times now and my food, and that of my companions, has exceeded expectations on both occasions. The portions are not huge but they are undoubtedly delicious, and just sizable enough when coupled with bread, a little wine, and an appetizer. The pizza is $16.25 and not huge, but was decently filling.

Glancing at the other reviews by Yelpers, it seems one's experience with the service is hit-or-miss at Lulu. Ours was fine that night, and on my previous visit. But nothing special to write home about one way or another.

Lulu is related to Palo Alto's Zibibbo, which I need to try sometime.

A note to Yelper Liz S., whose one-star review begins with "The waiter opened with, 'The food is provincial. That's a part of France'. You can't say we weren't warned..." — The waiter's enunciation may be poor, but the information was accurate. S/he did not say "provincial," as you heard. S/he said "Provençal," which is the French-English adjective meaning "from Provence," the Mediterranean region of France.

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