I added this to a long and previous post, but thought I would re-post. Anyone else want to share their thoughts on Lulu on Central Ave?
I would have to add Lulu to the thread - just ate dinner there recently. I had been twice before in the summer and eaten appetizers at the (almost nonexistent) bar, and finally made it back for dinner.
On one of my previous visits, I had the cheese plate, which I would highly recommend. They rotate the selection of cheeses each week, and when I tried it the focus was American-made cheeses - from mild to strong (maytag was the "strong selection). They serve it with crostini, fruit, and some out of this world honey.
Anyway, for dinner we had French onion soup and a mimosa salad to start, followed by chicken cooked in wine and a pan-seared grouper.
The French onion soup was quite good - a very flavorful broth and awesome swiss cheese. Nothing adventurous, but when you order French onion soup is that what you are looking for? The "mimosa" salad was a mixed green salad with fried brie, fruit, walnuts, and a champagne vinaigrette. Very tasty if a little overdressed.
The entrees were perfectly seasoned and hearty for colder months. The wild-caught grouper was not overcooked (as fish often is). Served with quinoa, it was an interesting preparation. The chicken dish - CCR - was chicken legs cooked in red wine with mushrooms and carrots and served with wide noodles.
We finished off the meal with an apple tart, which to our dismay was served cold, but we still ate every bite!
I also have to applaud their efforts to focus on local and sustainable food - even though the menu deviates from local and sustainable every once and a while. The menu is seasonal, so why offer salmon in the winter when it's farm-raised? Why put bland, flavorless strawberries on a salad when they don't add any value? But any focus on local and sustainable ingredients is a welcome change from most Charlotte restaurants, and Lulu is honest about the origin of the ingredients. Hopefully more Charlotte restaurants will follow their lead.
That departure from local/sustainable is one of my only complaints! The other is that the restaurant is very, very small - and also very loud - there is nothing to absorb all that noise. I'm not sure why they didn't add anything to the design for better acoustics.
Overall I would give it an A-/B+ -- a few little tweaks would push it over the edge for me. But if you want seasonable flavors and (mostly) local/sustainable food - give it a try!
Sorry for the long post.