East End Eats: A Bright Debut for Lulu Kitchen

Big and beautiful with an open kitchen, a wood-burning oven, and a trellised patio in the back
Diners at the new Lulu Kitchen in Sag Harbor Durell Godfrey

Lulu Kitchen and Bar
126 Main Street
Sag Harbor
631-725-0900
Seven days

Lulu Kitchen and Bar opened on Sag Harbor’s Main Street a few weeks ago and I like it very much. 

It is big and beautiful with an open kitchen, a wood-burning oven, and a trellised patio in the back. The space has always had a long, narrow railroad car feel to it but now it has graduated from the Acela to the Orient Express. It has rustic wood floors, exposed brick walls, skylights, and lots of smoky mirrors. There are banquettes, comfortable leather chairs, and a long zinc bar.

The open kitchen, which is about midway through the restaurant, has dramatic displays of the house-made breads, and tall glass cylinders filled with heads of cauliflower, kind of like those restaurants with lobster tanks where you point to the crustacean you’d like to eat. Whole roasted cauliflower is the “bloomin’ onion” of the moment, and this place does a real showstopper version of it.

The bread served before the meal is delicious and chewy and dusty with residual flour. For appetizers we ordered the cauliflower monster, tomato tartare, burrata, Bibb lettuce salad, and some Montauk Pearl oysters. 

The cauliflower comes out on a parchment-paper-covered platter with a big ol’ steak knife in the middle of it. Quelle dramatique! The menu says it’s enough for two to three people but I would say four. It is coated with tahini and white balsamic vinaigrette, drizzled with mint oil, topped with some roasted Long Island grapes, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and microgreens. It isn’t crunchy on the outside, but it does have some satisfying char on it. The slightly smoky, earthy cauliflower pairs well with the tangy grapes. The whole thing was delicious, and there was still enough to take home.

The tomato tartare was a more diminutive portion, beautifully plated with marinated bits of tomato, roasted cherry tomatoes, tiny nibs of string beans, and more microgreens. The burrata was a perfect room temperature blob of milky goodness with more roasted cherry tomatoes, fava beans, capers, and some basil pesto. The Bibb lettuce salad was a tall, generous mound of whole delicate leaves dressed with Lulu Kitchen’s white balsamic vinaigrette which is creamy and a pale shade of pink. Bless you, Lulu Kitchen, for serving this almost forgotten salad green. 

The Montauk Pearl oysters (love these) came with a dish of cocktail sauce and traditional mignonette. The mig­nonette could have been better. It was too sharp, as in pure vinegar, and lacked shallots. Perhaps it just hadn’t been stirred up enough before serving.

For entrees we tried the trufata pizza, vegetable pot au feu, roast chicken, cowboy ribeye steak, and a side order of mac ’n’ cheese. The pizza was very good: thin, blistered, kinda crisp, with mushrooms, stracciatella (truffled), arugula, and a few rings of pickled red onion. 

The vegetable pot au feu intrigued me, and I have to say it did not disappoint. The vegetables — broccoli, carrots, fennel, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and fava beans — were artfully arranged in a bowl of rich, meaty broth. I’m guessing it was a meat broth because it was better than any vegetable broth I’ve ever had. There was a somewhat superfluous dab of whole grain mustard on the rim of the bowl, and the menu said there was a smoked aioli as well, but I couldn’t detect it. I loved it nonetheless. 

The roast chicken was a bit of a disappointment because it was way, way overcooked and dry. The potato gratin served with it almost made up for it, for it was a creamy delight. The cowboy steaks were also a bit disappointing. The meat was tender and flavorful but under, or perhaps even, unseasoned. The French fries were hand cut and excellent, and the frizzled romaine leaves had a delicious lemony dressing. The black pepper sauce served with the steak was good but more like a sweet jus than a peppercorn sauce. The mac ’n’ cheese side dish was rich and creamy with a hint of smoked gouda.

The restaurant was hopping on the night of our visit and handling it quite well considering how young it is. The charming manager, Joshua, was warm and welcoming. 

The prices are moderate to expensive. Appetizers and raw bar items range from $12 to $95. (That’s for the seafood platter, which can serve three people or more.) Entrees are $24 to $54, pizzas are $18 to $23, sides are $9, and desserts are $9 to $18.

For dessert we tried a selection of sorbets, molten chocolate cake, and a lemon yuzu tart. The sorbets — we tried passion fruit, melon, and coconut — were good. They were served on a tasty bed of shortbread gravel and garnished with a few berries. The chocolate cake, as is often the case, had been baked past the molten stage and had reached the fully cooked yet still moist stage. It had good flavor, though, and the salted caramel ice cream and dabs of caramel sauce on the plate were good. The lemon yuzu tart was the best of all and as pretty as could be. Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit, similar to grapefruit or Meyer lemon, common in Japan and Korea. This tart had a crisp crust, a very tart lemon-yuzu curd filling, and was adorned with whipped créme fraiche and creme fraiche ice cream.

Most of my guests, handsome young fellows each and every one, said they would come back, but probably just for drinks and appetizers. One said he’d come back for the great pizza and that it was a welcome addition to Sag Harbor. I’ll be back because I live in the ’hood, they’re going to be open year round, and I found enough divine and interesting dishes to go back for. Often.