So it seems the next new trend coming to Philadelphia is the Tapas bar based on a couple of projects in the works.
Lula is in the old Pamplona space with a very disjointed cold interior.
The restaurant seems to have a crisis of definition because it is not at all a tapas bar, it is simply a restaurant with a 15 seat bar.
The menu is seperated into 3 categories..
SOUPS AND SALADS
MEAT AND FISH
Non of the "tapas" are tapas at all.
Of the 23 items on the tapas list, only 2 are remotely spanish.
The rest are just a collection of cliched medi-asian dishes.
Started with fried squid and zucchini with smoked tomato marinara.
I have never understood why anyone felt the need to smoke tomatoes. It was basically your standard batter fried calamari, nothing special and the sauce was oversalted and horrible. I cant understand how it is possible for marinara sauce to have no tomato flavor.
Fried lamb meatballs with yellow tomato mint coulis.
The meat was underseasoned and the meatballs were deep fried which made them totally dry and flavorless, it was like eating falafel.
Tamarind ribs with fresh coriander and cabbage slaw.
The meat was very tender, basically a braised short rib slathered with an stringent tamarind affected barbecue sauce which was way too sweet, the rest of the plate particularly the cabbage slaw was so acidic it was inedible.
A LOT of attention to detail is skipped at Lula, even the menu is littered with mis-definitions and spelling errors, "agriodolce" ,tomato "fume" which should be "fumet" but then the correct word would be "nage" since it wasnt even fish stock based.
The rest of the menu was too boring to bother with and the fact that the apps were so poorly executed, would make one shy away from the cost of the entrees.
All in all a poor experience, granted it's only been opened for a week, the issues here are more conceptual and so I seriously doubt it will get better.
lula is no casa mono.