LTH Home

Walking to Lula for a Tasty Bird . . . and more

Walking to Lula for a Tasty Bird . . . and more
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 3
  • Walking to Lula for a Tasty Bird . . . and more

    Post #1 - May 7th, 2005, 4:54 pm
    Post #1 - May 7th, 2005, 4:54 pm Post #1 - May 7th, 2005, 4:54 pm
    Lula Cafe has been mentioned a few times on this site usually in terms of brunch (and I've posted about it once on my blog). Ms. EC and I were sitting at home this past Friday contemplating where to take a walk (to enjoy the perfect weather) and get some dinner. We settled (rather quickly) on a walk down Logan Blvd. to Lula.

    Around a year ago, JimInLoganSquare, another Lula fan, highly recommended the roast chicken from Lula's regular menu. I usually gravitate toward their specials so this chicken has always slipped past my attention. This surprises even myself because Lula has always had a special skill for roasting birds, especially their pan-roasted quail. This night, Ms. EC picked the chicken. I managed to score a few bites (and most of the skin).

    Lula serves Gunthorp Farms' pasture-raised chicken, slightly smaller than the birds you get at your normal S. American pollo-joints (this ain't no Pico Rico mutant-bird). What they lack in size they easily make up for in flavor. The meat is slight sweeter and much richer than your everyday bird. Frankly, this roasted chicken tastes just like a chicken should and it'll make you think twice before you buy another Perdue at Jewel.

    Regarding the rest of our meal, we both started with salads. Mine was a very hearty warm salad of arugula, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, tallegio cream, and a poached duck egg. The yolk from the egg and the cream made a very comforting dressing for the arugula. Ms. EC had a spinach salad with blue cheese and morels, the highlight of which was slightly soft currant-bread croutons.

    Besides the chicken, I had an ample confit of salmon with morels, smoked mustard greens, and a salmon-potato tartare. I generally only prefer my salmon smoked or raw, but at a place like Lula, I feel safe ordering items I wouldn't normally order. The salmon had the buttery texture you'd expect from a confit and a very mild flavor. I was slightly disappointed by the tartare, which had a flavor that was completely obliterated by the oil of the confit.

    On the walk home, we discussed Lula and what we like about it. We've both eaten there many times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (I have a strong preference towards their dinners). The key point that impresses both of us about Lula is that their commitment to fresh, local, and organic is very tastable, tangible, and real. Often times lip-service is paid to these words on menus and the qualities can be lost in the preparation. Lula is a no BS-bistro that chooses to highlight natural flavors. They're creative without being destructive, showing a deep respect for their ingredients.

    I loudly second JimInLoganSquare's chicken recommendation. It might really taste best on a cool fall evening rather than a warm spring one, but it's a darn fine meal that I'd order year-round.

    Lula Cafe
    2537 N. Kedzie Boulevard
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773.489.9554
    http://www.lulacafe.com/

    And here's a page with a bit about Gunthorp Farms: http://www.sare.org/publications/naf/gunthorp.htm


    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #2 - May 10th, 2005, 9:28 pm
    Post #2 - May 10th, 2005, 9:28 pm Post #2 - May 10th, 2005, 9:28 pm
    Glad for the validation, EC! :) Anyway, I wonder what interest there might be in a Lula dinner? This is a place that seems to be either loved or ignored; I'd like to see how many would love it if they had the chance. The $11 roast chicken (served as a complete meal, by the way, with potatoes and greens) is but one of the many reasons people should be thronging around Lula Cafe. Anyway, I'm thinking about setting up a Lula excursion dinner for the LTHers. If interested, see the new "Lula Cafe" thread in the Events Calendar.

    [Edited to direct posters to the Events Calendar.]
    Last edited by JimInLoganSquare on May 11th, 2005, 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
    JiLS
  • Post #3 - May 11th, 2005, 7:26 am
    Post #3 - May 11th, 2005, 7:26 am Post #3 - May 11th, 2005, 7:26 am
    I would be interested. I always enjoyed it, but have not been in a few years.
  • Post #4 - May 11th, 2005, 8:48 am
    Post #4 - May 11th, 2005, 8:48 am Post #4 - May 11th, 2005, 8:48 am
    Mr. hagandier :D and I would definitely be interested. We love Lula and go whenever we get a chance to go out just the two of us. They do not take reservations, so if we decide to do a group dinner we should just put together a couple of dates and give them a shout, I am pretty sure they would be happy to host us and set aside a table if it was a "less hectic" night for them - say a Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday?
    Cheers!
    Jen Hagan-Dier
    I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I lost two weeks.
    - Joe E. Lewis
  • Post #5 - May 11th, 2005, 8:54 am
    Post #5 - May 11th, 2005, 8:54 am Post #5 - May 11th, 2005, 8:54 am
    NOTE: If interested in an outing to Lula, see the new "Lula Cafe" thread in the Events Calendar.
    JiLS
  • Post #6 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:24 pm
    Post #6 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:24 pm Post #6 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:24 pm
    LTH,

    MsWiv and I had the pleasure of meeting JimInLoganSquare and Mrs. JiLS at Lula Saturday evening to present Lula's LTHForum Great Neighborhood Restaurant Award. I had never been to Lula and, having read the LTH threads, was much looking forward to dinner. After a short wait in the bar, they make a mean cocktail, we were seated at a comfortable table in the bustling with energy dinning room. Jim and Susan had, as befits GNR nominators, been to Lula many times we took our cues from them.

    Our meal started nicely with an amuse of pureed ramp on bits of pie dough.

    Lula Amuse
    Image

    Lula Maki was good, not a wow, but solid. On the other hand grilled baby artichokes with artichoke mousse and prosciutto was an out-of-the-park home run. Jim pointed out the bit of LTH coincidence as Joy had just posted about baby artichokes.

    Parma prosciutto, grilled artichokes, with artichoke mousse.
    Image

    Another hit was Cauliflower soup with puff pastry wrapped brie.
    Image

    Ellen's halibut with fiddlehead ferns was good enough to have me checking Lula's on-line menu to see when it returns to daily specials.
    Image

    Jim had veal chop resting on a bed of grits, really (really) good grits. Jim, who is a grit aficionado, said they were among the best he had ever eaten. I agree, they were terrific, as was the veal chop.
    Image

    Susan's Pasta YiaYia was damn good, I thought that feta worked in the dish, but, then again, I'm not a Greek grandmother. :)
    Image

    I had the much vaunted roast chicken, which was cooked perfectly, though if I had to pick a nit there was a shade too much rosemary for my taste.
    Image

    Carrot cake was, well, truthfully I'm not a carrot cake fan, but the consensus was Lula's was very tasty.
    Image

    I am a chocolate fan and the chocolate crepes were delicious.
    Image

    There has been some discussion of service in the past, I can only speak to our experience Saturday night, but there were no lags, no fumbles, no problems whatsoever. The only issue I had with the waitstaff was I wish all restaurants were as efficient, polite and well informed.

    Jim presented Lula's GNR to co-owner Jason Hammel.

    JimInLoganSquare presenting LTHForum GNR to Jason Hammel, co owner of Lula with his wife Amalea Tshilds.
    Image

    It seems Jason was aware, and enthused, Lula was receiving the GNR as long time LTHer Natile is a waitress at Lula. (very nice to meet you Natile)

    All in all a terrific meal, thank you to JimInLoganSquare for introducing us to Lula, I'll be back often.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - April 4th, 2006, 1:01 am
    Post #7 - April 4th, 2006, 1:01 am Post #7 - April 4th, 2006, 1:01 am
    i'm not seeing the lula thread in the events calendar. i'd be in for 2 though.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #8 - April 4th, 2006, 5:25 am
    Post #8 - April 4th, 2006, 5:25 am Post #8 - April 4th, 2006, 5:25 am
    jazzfood wrote:i'm not seeing the lula thread in the events calendar. i'd be in for 2 though.


    Jim's post about that event was from May '05.
  • Post #9 - June 19th, 2006, 9:15 pm
    Post #9 - June 19th, 2006, 9:15 pm Post #9 - June 19th, 2006, 9:15 pm
    G Wiv wrote:they make a mean cocktail


    There's a few threads (see 1st post) on Lula's on this forum, but I have to post on this thread 'cause of that quote. Lula's does make a good cocktail.

    The rest of the meal? I'm somewhat on record as not being a big Lula's fan, although I keep trying. I've been interested in the Monday night deal, supposedly borne of a weekend's worth of market shopping. Today seemed like a good day to try; kinda an extended father's day, with movie first at City 14 on Western.*

    Perhaps I should have bolted when the market menu included nectarine tart. I know I did not see any nectarines at the farmer's market on Saturday. It is, however, a good deal at $24 for three courses. Just not very market driven: a chacurterie plate that was liver mouse (guinea hen at that) plus a duck-rabbit sausage; grilled guinea hen with spring onion biscuit, figs (!) and a trevisio raddicio (maybe); finished with the nectarine tart. The daily specials actually had a bit more local/seasonaly flair to them, and our other course included beets with bing cherries and rhubarb sorbet.

    As I so often do at Lula's, I find the meal just a bit too seemingly amaturish, like a stretching home cook. And it seemed like a home chef trying hard to incorporate fancy touches. Sauces were scrapped across the plate with a palatte knife as derigeur of late; the beets and cherries were so ideally spaced and balanced until the waiter plopped the plate down and spoiled it all. A couple of things stood out. The greens with the guinea hen were bitterly good, the pastry itself in the pie butterly good. When I asked about the fruit, they said Whole Foods. And it is all sortsa other little things that they mess up at.

    Our guinea hen was supposed to be wood grilled, but I tasted nary a wisp of grill. The beets/cherries came with "blue cheese pan perdue". Having lived in New Orleans, I know pan perdue as french toast. This seemed more like a spoonbread or biscuit. It was a tad oily and all I could think of was last week's perfect hush puppy at Vie. The potatoes and other vegetables under a hanger steak were also a tad greasy and not in a good way. Really not in a good way was the service. We waited extensively and really extensively between first and second courses. When the wait was about unberable, we were offered, but never given, bread. Yes.

    The thing about Lula's is, it's on the cusp. Price wise it's not Vie or Spring by about ten dollars. Yet, it seems to do a lot of things those places do. The farms are on the menu. But at the end of the day, I find that not enough of the farm is on the menu to compensate me for what I do not like.

    *X Men, not bad at all.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #10 - June 21st, 2006, 3:38 pm
    Post #10 - June 21st, 2006, 3:38 pm Post #10 - June 21st, 2006, 3:38 pm
    One of the problems with restaurants that you discover early is that as they evolve they seldom are as exciting as when you made that first discovery. Lula was a terrific neighborhood restaurant;it is now a destination restaurant that is still capable of, but not always, being terrific.
    I have always loved the restaurant, and I loved the idea of this restaurant. Chef/owners husband/wife struggling in a difficult endeavor. And the food was always so good-the service and overall experience maybe not so. The extra storefront was added, more space, a few more tables-the food was not always cooked by the owners. the quirky unevenness of the service/experience got worse not better.
    Nonetheless the food can still be inspiring. But I have a strategy for ordering that I almost always follow and when followed have never, never been disappointed. Order only specials! It something that I usually do at any restaurant, but at Lula it is imperative for me.
    The chicken in particular on busy nights is not something I'd ever order again. My suspicion is that the chefs work the specials, the sous chef (other cook) the regular menu. I had the chicken pre-theater (so it was early on a Saturday evening) this spring. The skin wasn't quite crispy enough, but the meat tasted fine until I reached the dreaded red slash at the thigh/leg joint-it was actually cold-just what I was looking for-chicken sushi. Had I more time the situation could have been remedied, but by then I wasn't too hungry. Even in this disaster of a dish, the potatos and greens that the chicken was served were delicious-as always a concern for the details when it comes to the food.
    The other problem that I have with Lula is that I can't always get a table like I used to be able to in the early years-the price of popularity. Memorial Day weekend is a fairly slow restaurant weekend as people leave the city and BBQ for themselves. 8 PM-no tables, over an hour wait. I suspect that most of the crowd was not from the area-I'll bet that there were lots of Hinsdale and Northbrook car stickers filling the area parking spaces. The other giveaway of few locals was no dogs even though it was a gorgeous evening and the outside area was filled.
    Not a problem right around the corner is Dunlays which had lots of room although nearly all the outside tables were filled but with four separate tables with dogs (including the 2 biggest golden retrievers I've ever seen). So for those worried that Dunlays would bring Linclon Park to Logan Square, maybe LSers drove their dogs there. Or just maybe maybe LS is becoming LP.
    FYI-Dunlays has taken the silly stuff off the menu (sorry no chevre) and concentrate on what they should burgers, beer, simple grilled stuff plus a fine on the premises smoked salmon (a little light on the brine and smoke for me, but perfect for the others at our table). I am also intrigued by the rice/wild rice/ walnut/whatever mixture they serve as a starch. But order wisely, although Dunlays have done a nice job at Smokedaddys, they don't have the mega ton smoker from Division street, and just because they have pizza, don't expect it to be cooked in a wood fired oven. And don't expect Lula cuisine, expect Dunlay grub.
    And when you go to Lula, go when they are not busy (good luck) or concentrate on ordering specials. Better yet, do both.
  • Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 6:27 pm
    Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 6:27 pm Post #11 - June 22nd, 2006, 6:27 pm
    MLS wrote:The other giveaway of few locals was no dogs even though it was a gorgeous evening and the outside area was filled.


    Well, if that's the mark of a local, it's a local without a bird dog :) I can't imagine my two wildebeasts sitting calmly under the table and eating. They'd be too busy trying to keep the area free of BIRDS!!!

    ;)

    (though we are in Bucktown, so not quite local)
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #12 - June 30th, 2008, 10:04 pm
    Post #12 - June 30th, 2008, 10:04 pm Post #12 - June 30th, 2008, 10:04 pm
    I had a terrific dinner at Lula's tonight, and since that other thread has that negative title and seems to have digressed into a discussion of service issues and dogs, I'm going to post here instead.
    It is busy. We were there for the Monday evening farm dinner and were well advised to get there as close to the 6 p.m. open as we could. We made it by 6:15. By 6:30 or so it was mostly full and when we left at 7:30 they were standing three deep in the bar waiting for tables.

    Tonight's farm menu was "market lettuces with cauliflower, new potatoes, sardine, and pecorino; fettucine with summer squash, basil goat butter, and squash blossoms; and red and yellow cherry streudel with kirschwasser ice cream. That didn't immediately sing to me but my dining companion keeps kosher and she was so delighted to see a pork-free farm menu that she had talked me into making the trip. Here they are, with apologies for the poor natural light in the far back corner of the restaurant.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Just terrific, all of it. Someone in the other thread mentioned how they didn't want salad dressing and the waiter tried to argue, saying that the salad was very lightly dressed. While I agree that the waiter shouldn't have argued, I will say that the dressing on today's salad was so light that at first I thought there wasn't any. But there was, and the total effect was phenomenal. Those wonderful spring greens, with the crunchy toasted pine nuts and the just barely blanched cauliflower, and the bite-sized new potatoes. The sardine and percorino made you remember a good Caesar salad without confusing you into thinking maybe this was one. If they had said "sorry, we're out of the rest of the menu, would it be all right if we just brought you a couple more plates of salad?" I would have said "yes, please!"

    It was the main course that had my dining companion begging the waiter for seconds. I don't know if the pasta was made in-house, but wherever it came from, it was chewy and tender, if those things aren't inconsistent. The basil goat butter was an inspired touch, pulling it all together and adding a huge wallop of flavor. Again, the very light hand with the sauce made the ingredients shine without being at all overwhelmed.

    I suppose if I had to give demerits to anything, it would be the dessert, which would have been improved by making it two tenths of one percent more tart and giving us a bigger dollop of that kirschwasser ice cream! But that just brings it down to a high A- and, though I was tempted to lick my plate after the prior two courses, I really did sneak a finger across the dessert plate to get that last little bit. In fact, maybe I did that more than once. :oops:

    Although it's not clear from the current GNR list (which doesn't include it under "American Restaurants" but does include it--albeit with a dead link--as a "Northwest" GNR) I seem to recall that it was once on the list, but was dropped for lack of enthusiasm for its renewal. That's too bad. My dinner tonight was one of the best I've had in a Chicago restaurant. The service was well-paced and thoroughly friendly. Even the busser who cleared our plates gave me a smile that made me think he was delighted that I'd cleaned my plate. I'd encourage anyone who, like me, has lately yawned when Lula is mentioned and remembers it mostly at that place that was pretty good before the hipsters started swarming there, to give it another chance. I certainly won't hesitate the next time someone suggests it to me.
  • Post #13 - July 1st, 2008, 11:15 am
    Post #13 - July 1st, 2008, 11:15 am Post #13 - July 1st, 2008, 11:15 am
    Coincidentally, I went to Lula's last night as well. It was my first time there after years of wanting to go. We got there around 6:30 and were seated right away inside. If we had shown up fifteen minutes later, there would have been a wait. I had originally planned to go with the Monday night farm dinner described and photographed in Ann's post, but meat was calling my name last night, so I decided to order off the dinner special menu.

    My first course was "pan fried veal sweetbreads with rhubarb, sugar snap peas, bacon, and garlic puree." I had never had sweetbreads before, but, primarily based on comments I had read on this forum in the past, I thought I would give it a shot. I was not disappointed. The sweetbreads were crispy and mild, well accompanied by the rhubard, which had a light pickled quality, the sugar snap peas which truly did snap, and bacon - sweet bacon. It was a wonderful combination of flavors that has made me, much to my surprise, a big sweetbreads fan. Also, at this point I was drinking a Unibroue Maudite, a dark Belgian strong ale, that went really well with the dish. The alcohol cut through the richness of the dish.

    My wife started with "lettuce and green garlic soup with pancetta, pickled radishes, and marjoram." She raved about it. My one bite was wonderful. The freshness of the green garlic really stood out.

    For an entree, I had the "grilled wisconsin trout with english peas, applewood smoked bacon, and spring garlic." What this description from the online menu does not mention is the inclusion of morels. The fish was perfect done, a nice char on the skin. The morels and bacon (yes - more bacon - pork fat = flavor) really complimented the fish well.

    My wife went with "spaghetti with sweet and spicy chile 'salsa rossa,' bacon, virgin olive oil, and queso fresco," from the cafe menu. It had a good kick and lots of flavor. She, again, raved about it. (Note - more bacon).

    She also got a side of their pickled beets, which were suppose to come with her entree, but was initially forgotten. They quickly brought it out once we told them it was missing. They were great. Nice, earthy beet flavor with a hint of sweet from what I assume is balsamic.

    We finished off with bacon-free desserts. I had a honey fig torte. I love figs, and this was a great way to use them. My wife had chocolate mousse. Rich and decadent.

    I am so very glad we finally went there. It had a great feel, the service was laidback yet attentive. Would love to go back soon.
  • Post #14 - July 1st, 2008, 3:37 pm
    Post #14 - July 1st, 2008, 3:37 pm Post #14 - July 1st, 2008, 3:37 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:Although it's not clear from the current GNR list (which doesn't include it under "American Restaurants" but does include it--albeit with a dead link--as a "Northwest" GNR) I seem to recall that it was once on the list, but was dropped for lack of enthusiasm for its renewal. That's too bad. My dinner tonight was one of the best I've had in a Chicago restaurant. The service was well-paced and thoroughly friendly. Even the busser who cleared our plates gave me a smile that made me think he was delighted that I'd cleaned my plate. I'd encourage anyone who, like me, has lately yawned when Lula is mentioned and remembers it mostly at that place that was pretty good before the hipsters started swarming there, to give it another chance. I certainly won't hesitate the next time someone suggests it to me.


    Lula's isn't considered a GNR anymore? I agree that it's too bad. I think it remains one of the best places to eat in Chicago, and their Monday Night Farm Dinner is one of the best values (even at $28 now instead of $24).

    I had the same sweetbreads that schenked mentioned and thought they were absolutely spot-on. Last winter, I had a pasta dish with braised goat that had made me a lifetime fan of goat. Their wine list is solid and very affordable. Service has always been reliably warm and friendly whenever I have gone. There might be a wait for dinner, but with good reason -- the food (and everything else) remains stellar.

    If nothing else, go for the sweetbreads, stay for everything else you can order. :)
    best,
    dan
  • Post #15 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am
    Post #15 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am Post #15 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am
    I've posted before about some really nice experiences at Lula, but I have no problem with it having been passed up for GNR renewal. The problem with Lula, imo, is consistency. There are certainly great meals to be had, a la those most recently described in this thread. But I had one recent meal that was just dreadful. It was the much vaunted roast chicken, this time served extremely dry and unpalatably salty. I'd chalk it up to an aberration if it had been the first time, but it wasn't.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #16 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:12 am
    Post #16 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:12 am Post #16 - July 2nd, 2008, 9:12 am
    I'm sure JiminLoganSquare has something to do with sweetbreads on the menu. Well done! With sweetbreads off the summer menus of the few places that sometimes have served them (ex. Cafe Matou), it is good to know that Lula's has them.
  • Post #17 - October 13th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Post #17 - October 13th, 2008, 1:51 pm Post #17 - October 13th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Shamefully, I had not been back to Lula's in a long, long while. I corrected this personal oversight last night and had a great time.

    I was surprised that it was as busy as it was for a Sunday night -- three of us had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Fortunately, the bar area wasn't crowded at all and it was pleasant.

    By and large, we kept our orders to the more modest side of the menu -- the roast chicken for one friend and the spaghetti with bacon and salsa for me. Both were excellent and very satisfying. Our third went with a current special -- roasted golden beets with yogurt, pear and dill. He loved it, and he usually hates beets.

    I could see on other tables some of the other current specials -- the 'pan seared scallops and fried green tomato with bacon-sardine vinaigrette, peppercress, and hard cooked farm egg' and 'farro stuffed quail with bone marrow crouton, celery root, mustard greens, butternut squash, and banyuls vinaigrette' looked (and smelled) especially tasty.

    When I was walking in, I overheard someone poke his head into the kitchen to (loudly) thank the chefs for the food. He went on to explain that he was in town from LA and he had been in the night before, Saturday night, and liked it so much he just had to return. Considering some of the apathy towards this place around these parts, I suggest others give it another chance, too!
    best,
    dan
  • Post #18 - October 13th, 2008, 9:32 pm
    Post #18 - October 13th, 2008, 9:32 pm Post #18 - October 13th, 2008, 9:32 pm
    I love going to Lula, whether for lunch, brunch or dinner. Always great, fresh, seasonal food and a very well-priced wine list. And the staff is friendly and smiley, despite the almost constant frenzy of business.

    Any place that always does wonderful things with pork is on my regular visit list!
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #19 - October 21st, 2008, 11:19 pm
    Post #19 - October 21st, 2008, 11:19 pm Post #19 - October 21st, 2008, 11:19 pm
    From another thread:

    Kennyz wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Pork belly, house-cured sardine, local honey, celery, and green apple jam from Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshcilds of Lula Cafe

    Wow.


    I won't lie -- I'm a Lula's partisan (see above), though I know others don't share my enthusiasm :wink:, but I hope the mulefoot dinner may encourage some who had grown tired or bored, or just let down, with Lula's to return. My fervent hope is that like with avec and some of the other restaurants represented at the dinner, Lula's will be offering some of this pork belly at least for a few more days.
    best,
    dan
  • Post #20 - October 22nd, 2008, 4:29 am
    Post #20 - October 22nd, 2008, 4:29 am Post #20 - October 22nd, 2008, 4:29 am
    danimalarkey wrote:From another thread:

    Kennyz wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Pork belly, house-cured sardine, local honey, celery, and green apple jam from Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshcilds of Lula Cafe

    Wow.


    I won't lie -- I'm a Lula's partisan (see above), though I know others don't share my enthusiasm :wink:, but I hope the mulefoot dinner may encourage some who had grown tired or bored, or just let down, with Lula's to return. My fervent hope is that like with avec and some of the other restaurants represented at the dinner, Lula's will be offering some of this pork belly at least for a few more days.


    I was at Lula on Monday night and they were offering the following as the main course for their weekly farm dinner:

    mulefoot pork, eggplant, and rapini ravioli in brodo


    I'm not sure if they're still serving it. I opted for something different.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #21 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:18 am
    Post #21 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:18 am Post #21 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:18 am
    eatchicago wrote:I opted for something different.


    This is probably a good opportunity to mention this meal, one of the best seasonal meals I've had all year.

    First course:
    heirloom pumpkin soup with chorizo, sherry, and pumpkin seed 'picada': This was a delicately-flavored but hearty soup that was punched up nicely by the chorizo and sherry. It warmed me up well after riding my bike home in the rain.

    Second course:
    farro stuffed quail with bone marrow crouton, celery root, mustard greens, butternut squash, and banyuls vinaigrette: I've long been a fan of any bird that Lula roasts, and I've had a number of stuffed quail preparations there. This was as good as any. The meat was sweet and the accompaniments were excellent. Each item held it's own on the plate and contributed well to a nice dish.

    Dessert:
    heirloom pumpkin tart with toasted pumpkin seeds and ginger A very tasty pumpkin preparation.

    Taken as a whole, these three courses represented the best of the season to me, and Lula didn't miss a beat. For me, there are few restaurants at Lula's price point that execute as well with seasonal ingredients.

    All of these dishes are currently available at Lula on their specials menu.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #22 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:26 am
    Post #22 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:26 am Post #22 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:26 am
    eatchicago wrote:First course:
    heirloom pumpkin soup with chorizo, sherry, and pumpkin seed 'picada': This was a delicately-flavored but hearty soup that was punched up nicely by the chorizo and sherry. It warmed me up well after riding my bike home in the rain.

    Second course:
    farro stuffed quail with bone marrow crouton, celery root, mustard greens, butternut squash, and banyuls vinaigrette: I've long been a fan of any bird that Lula roasts, and I've had a number of stuffed quail preparations there. This was as good as any. The meat was sweet and the accompaniments were excellent. Each item held it's own on the plate and contributed well to a nice dish.


    I opted for that one-two punch last night (very possibly because of your post--we'll never know if I might have anyway), and it was great. The quail especially.

    They make an excellent martini, too.

    Dessert was a different choice than yours. I had the sweet potato pie to your heirloom pumpkin tart. So, not worlds away. Was a bit underwhelmed by the flavor of the filling, but the crust was wonderful.

    Come to think of it, I'd have probably ordered the striped bass instead of the quail if it weren't for your post. I'm sure that would have been good too, but the quail was truly outstanding. So thanks! :)
  • Post #23 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:34 am
    Post #23 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:34 am Post #23 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:34 am
    riddlemay wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:First course:
    heirloom pumpkin soup with chorizo, sherry, and pumpkin seed 'picada': This was a delicately-flavored but hearty soup that was punched up nicely by the chorizo and sherry. It warmed me up well after riding my bike home in the rain.

    Second course:
    farro stuffed quail with bone marrow crouton, celery root, mustard greens, butternut squash, and banyuls vinaigrette: I've long been a fan of any bird that Lula roasts, and I've had a number of stuffed quail preparations there. This was as good as any. The meat was sweet and the accompaniments were excellent. Each item held it's own on the plate and contributed well to a nice dish.


    I opted for that one-two punch last night (very possibly because of your post--we'll never know if I might have anyway), and it was great. The quail especially.

    They make an excellent martini, too.

    Dessert was a different choice than yours. I had the sweet potato pie to your heirloom pumpkin tart. So, not worlds away. Was a bit underwhelmed by the flavor of the filling, but the crust was wonderful.


    Indeed. I had the quail dish last week and it was really terrific. Perfectly cooked bird, tasty farro stuffing, and decadent, smooth celery root puree. For too long I made the mistake of attributing this thread's title solely to Lula's roast chicken, which I find uneven at best. The quail is a real winner though. I also opted for the much cheaper soup of the day off the cafe menu ($3 vs. the bizarre $11 price tag of the pumpkin soup). It was a delicious, chunky root vegetable soup with very good vegetable stock.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #24 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am
    Post #24 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am Post #24 - November 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am
    Kennyz wrote:I also opted for the much cheaper soup of the day off the cafe menu ($3 vs. the bizarre $11 price tag of the pumpkin soup). It was a delicious, chunky root vegetable soup with very good vegetable stock.

    Though the pumpkin soup was very good (in a way, I'd have to say the chorizo "saved" it--the soup would have needed a bit of salt if not for that), I agree with you about the price. The thing that made me swallow the price was that every other starter was priced within a dollar or so either way of that. So, no matter what you chose (and I didn't know there was whole 'nother menu to choose from), you were in for the same bucks--so might as well choose what you want the most.

    The subject of the soup's achieving perfect saltiness through the chorizo makes me realize that not once last night did I reach for the salt or pepper shaker. That's unusual for me. The flavors presented were unimprovable.
    Last edited by riddlemay on October 25th, 2009, 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #25 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:02 am
    Post #25 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:02 am Post #25 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:02 am
    Lula continues to be a place full of hits and misses for me, but I return periodically because the hits are often wonderful, and the service (formerly aloof, now attentive) and vibe (formerly pretentious, now relaxed) have improved over the years.

    Lula always offers two soups - one for $3 and one for $10 or $11. I can't for the life of me figure out the bizarre price discrepancy. The $3 soup is made from scratch with excellent ingredients. Last night's was a beautiful, intense puree of artichokes and meyer lemons. I don't know what the $11 one was this time, because I can't get beyond the silly price tag. If you go to Lula, and they have this wonderful artichoke soup or anything else that sounds good on the $3 side of the menu, get it. I've never been steered wrong by the cheap soup.

    Pancetta crusted sturgeon was a beautifully presented entree, where everything on the plate worked well except for the main attraction. Thinly sliced, poached celeriac was tasty, pork confit on the side was delicious, and the pancetta crust was nice and crisp. Unfortunately, none of that was enough to compensate for sturgeon that had the slight ammonia-like taste of fish past its prime. Maybe I should have heeded the age old advice not to order fish on Monday, or perhaps Lula's regular supplier had taken the day off to commemorate Admiral Pulaski.

    A trio of ice creams - milk chocolate, hazelnut, and butterscotch - were each among the best I've ever tasted. Perfect smooth texture without a hint of crystallization, and intense flavor that highlighted the main ingredients without too much sugar.

    Lula was hopping for a Monday - completely full with a small wait for a table by the time we left. After several years, the crowds still seem to love the place. I see plenty of reasons to agree with them.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #26 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:53 am
    Post #26 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:53 am Post #26 - March 3rd, 2009, 9:53 am
    I live a few blocks from Lula, so it's often on my short list of places to eat. If the waits weren't frequently terrible, I'd certainly be there more.

    My most recent meal was lovely. Two appetizers, two sandwiches, a dessert, coffee, and a glass of moscato d'asti for a bit over $50 with tax and tip. Not bad. My problem, though, continues to be that I cannot manage to order anything other than the chicken torta. I have a crush on the pickled onions and tamarind mustard.

    I was tempted, though, by the braised goat from Slagel Farms, the farmers I sat with at the recent Mado pig dinner. Apparently, Jason Vincent (who was a guest chef at the Mado pig dinner and will be chef at the new Pilsen Lula) liked the pig enough to convince the other Lula folks start buying meat from Slagel Farms.

    Lula's lovely blueberry torte:
    Image

    Ronna
  • Post #27 - September 10th, 2009, 7:13 pm
    Post #27 - September 10th, 2009, 7:13 pm Post #27 - September 10th, 2009, 7:13 pm
    With all the Nightwood chatter, Lula hasn't gotten much LTHForum love (or hate) lately. I had a terrific meal there tonight - among the best meals they've served me yet. Salad with tender lettuce, sweet nectarines, and a perfect hint of black truffle shavings was fantastic. Crisped pork belly with cucumber-currant relish and white anchovy was great too. Leffe Blond served in a proper glass while we sat out on the patio on this beautiful summer evening made the whole experience even better.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #28 - October 25th, 2009, 6:41 am
    Post #28 - October 25th, 2009, 6:41 am Post #28 - October 25th, 2009, 6:41 am
    We had a great meal last night at Lula cafe. Highlights were the homemade pumpkin doughnuts (funny since neither my dining companion nor I are big sweet fans, but they were outstanding) and the homemade cavatelli. They gave us a little flier for their halloween dinner--every year they dress up the restaurant for a halloween theme. It looks like this year they will be dressing up as Hot Doug's. I haven't been to a halloween event there but a friend raves about the year they dressed up as Olive Garden.
  • Post #29 - October 25th, 2009, 8:07 am
    Post #29 - October 25th, 2009, 8:07 am Post #29 - October 25th, 2009, 8:07 am
    I tried to go to Lula for brunch last weekend and the crowd was so large we had to move on. Then we tried Kuma's and the same story there. We ended up going to Turquoise in Roscoe Village and it was nearly empty when we arrived. Its nice inside and quiet. We enjoyed our lunch. Sometimes it seems as if there is a dearth of good places to eat when you need them as they are too crowded.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #30 - October 25th, 2009, 5:34 pm
    Post #30 - October 25th, 2009, 5:34 pm Post #30 - October 25th, 2009, 5:34 pm
    I'm really glad this thread popped up back to the top of the board because I recently (read late summer) had my second great brunch there. My group went for brunch. Some ordered breakfast but it was close to 11am and I was starving so I chose to order from the lunch menu and I sure am glad that I did. The chicken torta is phenomenal with the chicken that actually tastes like chicken and tons of veggies and a tasty pickled onions, yum. This is a huge sandwich. You get a choice of side and you won't regret getting the spicy homemade coleslaw. They rotate their brunch specials and these are usually pretty good because they are using what's in season. The only thing is that something you really liked might not be available the next time. Afterward, it was fun to browse at the nearby summer farmer market.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more