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Wednesday Night at LuLu

Melanie Wong | May 20, 200412:21 PM

Last week I stopped by LuLu for some tasting practice and a solo dinner. I can’t remember when I’d last had a meal here. I had thought I’d retire to the bar for some quiet wine study, but the table seating was closing down at this hour. Instead I ended up in the half full dining room, which was still lively but not the din I remembered. The two-top in the center of the room was under a spot light. While welcomed for examining the wines, it made me feel a little self-conscious until I realized that all the dinners in the middle section were lit up.

I started with a flight of Rhone red wine varieties offered for $16:

2001 Domaine Tempier Bandol ($4.50/2 oz.)
2001 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($6)
2002 Qupé Central Coast Syrah ($2.25)
2001 d’Arenberg “The Footbolt” McLaren Vale Shiraz ($3.25)

The natural pairing with these gamey, earthy wines was the rotisserie lamb, $19.95, offered on Wednesdays. Six thick slices of roast leg of lamb, medium rare as promised and redolent of garlic and provençal herbs, were accompanied by a bean ragout. The serving was big enough for two to share or leftovers for lunch. The tasty ragout featured some four kinds of giant shell beans (including that big black one we encountered at the French Laundry) seasoned with a bit of tomato and cured meat. I loved how the thickened braising liquid of the ragout mingled on the platter with the lamb’s natural juices to season the meat. The side order of broccoli rabe, $4.75, with garlic and a pinch of chili flakes was not quite as successful. The rabe was stringy and lacked verve. I skipped the $8 desserts – nothing called to me and they too much for the single diner.

My server, Leslie, was terrific, as well as the busser for my table. Total with tax and tip was $52 – a little steep but that did include a doggie bag lunch.

Restaurant LuLu
816 Folsom St.
San Francisco

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