Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LuLuc is LuLame

On a superfine Sunday morning in Brooklyn Heights, after a week of dreadful weather, Ale and I emerged from our cozy abode with a fresh spring in our step. Today was the day we were finally going to explore our new digs and, find a great place for brunch/lunch along the way. It was a day of walking and consuming. (Is there any other way to discover an area? Not in our book.) After a good hour or two of strolling the streets, peeping in and out of shops and bakeries, and uncovering all the gems that make our neighborhood so awesome, we were hungry enough to stop into Cafe LuLuc on Smith Street. It seemed like the right choice at the time: a wait outside, good menu options, recommended by a friend, and we were feeling particularly French. They got one thing right: the feel of an authentic French cafe. It certainly hearkened back to our travels to Paris a few months prior, which may have subconsciously been part of the nostalgic allure.

Unfortunately the aesthetic did not make up for what was a downhill trajectory that began with the bubbly. I don't know from where it came, and if it was French at all (certainly not Champagne, to which we can snootily also attest from firsthand tastings in the region), but what I do know is that it was - excuse my French - merde. Ale got a mimosa and I ordered the stuff straight up, and I can't say which was worse tasting. I would say sparkling apple cider would be considered creme de la creme by comparison. The syrupy aftertaste was so displeasing, Ale's face contorted as if she had taken a shot of Jager every time she braved a sip.I was not so brave; after my first I sent it back. Don't fuck with my bubbly.

Shrimp  Salad (sham)
Pulled Pork (poop)
As for the food, both seemed promising. A splitsies situation of a pulled pork sandwich, pressed with fontina cheese and served with garlic aioli, and a grilled Tiger shrimp salad with white beans, "asparagus" (the necessity for quotations will become apparent), and a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette, which I thankfully ordered on the side. Both dishes were the epitome of a let-down, especially when it's something you are so excitedly jonesing for, the anticipation is maddening. The pork lacked so much of the flavor it is expected to boast, we both longingly ogled at the chicken sandwich (I know!) as it was set down in front of another (possibly smarter) patron. This should be telling as chicken is never on our wish list when we are feeling carnivorous. As for the salad, I can only muster an apathetic grunt. Also plain in flavor as far as the grilled shrimp went. I will give them points for taking off the tails - one of my pet peeves with ordering shrimp dishes - I don't like to work on my food. Anything that prolongs its contact with my tongue is a no-go. And while usually that would be a saving grace for a mediocre dish, forgetting ingredients is not. Where was my asparagus in the already component-light salad? Not on my plate, and certainly not in my mouth, that's for damn sure. So poop to that. Is it too much to expect a complete dish? Of course, I cleaned shop - sans the creepy, slimy green dressing (what made it green with white ribbons?!) - because I was hungry. Splitsville didn't really happen, as we each ate our equally average plates in resigned defeat.

Nicely stocked bar. Perhaps more booze is the secret.
Perhaps the crowd is attracted by the affordable prices, or perhaps we didn't go French enough in our ordering. Nonetheless, a place that is worth your marbles, er coins, should make everything on their menu well. If you put it on there (it's in writing for heaven's sake), you start out with the advantage in my mind, that it's a dish I should pay for because I will enjoy it.Why would I pay for tasteless food? That defeats the whole purpose kids. Some eat for sustenance; I eat for flavor. LuLuc served a double strike for us and I doubt we will return. (Not the first time we experienced French disenchantment, but that's another story all together.) Especially with so many promising choices that pepper the streets of Brooklyn. Luckily, LuLuc did not tarnish our Sunday fun-day. Let's call it a mere snag in the fruitfully woven blanket of our endless exploration. On to the next...