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Alexandra | Aug 16, 200408:25 PM     1

Had a friend/business contact from New Jersey visiting this weekend, and we went to LuLu on Friday night. It was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't been there in a few years, so was a little leery, but now I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. There's not much going on that's new and exciting in the cuisine, but it's quite comforting, and the service is good in a very unobtrusive way. My only complaints are that the decor is a little dated now and the smell of the wood-burning oven clings to your clothes like you were at an eight-hour-long Texas barbecue!

We started with Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels with Drawn Butter (12.50). They were great! I'm a mussel-liker (not lover). It drives me crazy when I get a gulp of seawater or a weirdo sewage-y taste in a mussel. This batch had none of that. Just great roasted flavor to the mussels. Definitely of the sea, just not still reeking of it. Simple and delicious.

We shared a chopped salad and an order of stuffed squash blossoms next. The chopped salad wasn't too exciting (lightly dressed fennel, celery, green onions, lettuce, and parmesan - I might be missing an ingredient or two) but it was fresh and healthy.

The stuffed, deep-fried squash blossoms were out-of-this-world good. I think it was stuffed with something like peas - I don't remember so well, and it's a seasonal special (not listed on their online menu - see below). Whatever it was, it was great. This dish was smooth and intense, with a great texture inside and out.

We shared an order of the oven roasted local king salmon (24.95). Not very exciting. Served on a bed of corn with tiny tomatoes and basil. It was fine, but just not sublime like salmon can be. Made me think it was kind of an afterthought to pacify the fish-eaters.

And we got a side order of pan-roasted pole beans (about $5) - wow! Intense garlic and butter sauce, and great variety of green and yellow beans. Fantastic dish - I took the leftover beans home (clearly we ordered a lot of food) to my husband, who doesn't meet too many green beans he likes, and he devoured them out of the box in about two minutes.

We shared the warm chocolate cake (molten center) with caramel ice cream and the organic peach tarte tatin with Bonny Doon muscat ice cream for dessert. Both lick-the-plate delicious.

Dinner came to about $130 with tax, tip, and a few cocktails.

Link: http://www.lulu.citysearch.com/

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