One of the many reasons I love Delray Beach is its cultivation of culinary entrepreneurs. These small businesses bring such a variety of cuisines to the neighborhood, all with their own personalities. Lulu’s, one of Pineapple Grove’s newest additions, is the handiwork of five partners, including Avalon’s Curt Huegel. Its relaxed ambiance instantly makes you feel welcome. Sometimes what you need is unfussy, approachable food in a comfortable space, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here under the towering banyan tree.
After Huegel opened Avalon, he persuaded his partners to look to Delray as a possible home for their next restaurant. When they found the former Banyan restaurant space they decided it was time. The new space embraces a modern and airy natural aesthetic with whitewashed brick walls, lush greenery, bamboo details, vibrant tiles and plenty of al fresco dining.
We started off with the cheeky Pornstar Martini ($14) and crisp Cucumber Mojito ($14). The vodka martini is blended with Passoã, a Brazilian passion fruit liqueur, which gives it a sweet, juicy texture. If you prefer less sweet, more refreshing drinks, try the mojito.
The way the menu is curated, it gives you the option to dine tapas-style on shareable plates, or you can enjoy individual entrées. The Bao Buns ($15) are fluffy clouds of goodness. There are pork belly and shrimp options. I tried the shrimp, and while the sriracha mayo gave it a slight spice that wasn’t overpowering, I did wish there was more than one lonely shrimp per bun.
The Lemon Basil Scallops ($24) were well seared, tender and topped with a pomegranate sauce that was sweet with a fun, crunchy texture. While I tend to stay away from meat on a stick due to a previous embarrassing encounter with skewers, the Steak Skewers ($17) were recommended and I’m happy we ordered them. The filet mignon was well prepared, but it was the Singapore slaw that the table raved about, a tangy crunch with a hint of heat. Plus, the usual long metal swords were replaced with delicate, less intimidating bamboo picks that allowed the steak to easily slide off.
Lulu’s offers a few salad and bowl options like the Brassicas Bowl ($16), which resembled a salad that had been categorized and spread out on a plate—the avocado, hummus, Brussels sprouts, charred broccolini, poached egg and kale all in their separate corners. The two sandwiches we tried, the Korean Fried Chicken ($16) and Panini Burger ($15), were straightforward and flavorful. The chicken was crispy but also juicy, and delivered the heat while the burger didn’t make me miss the bun thanks to the toasty bread and sweet chili. Make sure to dunk the steak fries into the garlic aioli.
Named after one of the partner’s daughters, the quaint café serves an all-day menu including breakfast until 3 p.m. and a unpretentious selection of apps, sandwiches, salads and entrées that are ideal for an executive lunch, lively tapas happy hour, casual dinner or late night snack (until 2 a.m.!).
IF YOU GO
189 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561/453-2628; lulusdelray.com
PARKING: Street and garage parking
HOURS: Mon.-Sun., 8 a.m.-2 a.m.