A regular spot among locals and a destination for foodies, Lula is an ambitious restaurant disguised as a low-key hipster hangout. The regular menu (chilled sesame noodles with satay sauce, a bistro-worthy roast chicken) has its fans, but it’s the specials that are magical. The kitchen excels at creating continental recipes that incorporate little-used herbs and greens, fresh seasonal vegetables, and unfamiliar ingredients to great effect. Poached yellowfin tuna might come with shavings of bottarga, while duck liver paté is accompanied by blackberry jam and applewood bacon. During the extremely popular brunch, it’s hard to choose between the sweet (ricotta-stuffed brioche French toast) and the savory (prosciutto-and-sesame crostini eggs Benedict).
Tip: On Monday nights, when many restaurants are closed, Lula serves a reservation-worthy Farm Dinner featuring ingredients like ramps, eggs, and buttermilk from local growers; the $24 three-course prix fixe is a great deal.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.