Contained beyond the bar in a newly opened elegant hotel within the first arrondissement, Le Lulli is a beautifully appointed dining room, with a glass enclosed courtyard, bringing outside greenery into the modern space. The only incongruous note is this shower curtain like material covering one wall of the restaurant. It made me want to reach for my washcloth and bar of Safeguard. A shame in such a well designed space.
We were warmly greeted, the staff obviously pleased to have customers on this cold Monday night. Almost immediately, a line up of four bite sized delicacies were brought in from the kitchen as "a gift from the chef," as explained by our server. It was a pre amuse bouche-amuse bouche, if you will. Consisting of artful presentations of salmon, pickled herring, a tiny log of foie gras, and a fried cheese and potato ball, everything tasted great. Next up was the actual amuse bouche, a delicious scallop in a leek sauce.
The menu offered a variety of choices and for a starter, I opted for the sea urchin served inside its shell, surrounded by a tasteless white foam. This was a very bad choice, and the only let down of the evening. It did not taste good. My wife, as always, made a more intelligent choice of the rock fish soup which was delicious. For our main dishes, my stomach was overwhelmed, but with joy, by a huge portion of perfectly cooked beef with pieces of foie gras placed on top. This was "Statin" heaven, and my arteries were more clogged then the Chatelet Metro Stop at 17:30. However, it was heaven. Arteries be damned! My wife chose a delicate scallop dish that was not only visually exquisite, but tasted so well balanced. For dessert, I had this chocolate geometric sculpture, too intricate to actually enjoy. Again, my wife bested me with her Mille-feuille, created as 3 small puffs each with a caramelized sugar disc on top. This was placed on a plank of shortbread with frozen mousse on the side. It tasted wonderful!
We washed everything down with a 78 Euro bottle of Crozes-Hermitage from 2008. The wine was without merit and was "weak sauce" compared to the meal. To match my starter and my wife's fish soup, I ordered two glasses of white wine, which I left up to the server. Unfortunately, that put us "over the top," as the two glasses of wine cost me 50 Euros. Lesson learned, do not let the server choose your wine. Ask to see the wine list. The service was warm, engaging and hard working. The food was fabulous, except for my starter. If not for the two glasses of white wine, the meal would cost well under 200 Euros- A relative bargain for such a sumptuous experience. Yet, my accolades are tempered by the negatives encountered. Euro by Euro, Aux Enfants Gates was superior price wise and Le Gabriel far superior at 295 Euros.