By Omar Mamoon
By Kate Williams
By Pete Kane
By Molly Gore
By Lou Bustamante
By Anna Roth
It's Dungeness time, and we continued the seafood theme with a fine example of whole Cancer magister roasted in an oak-fired oven under a crust of chiles and garlic ($22), creating a mildly torrid treat for the taste buds to go with the sounds of cracking shells and slurped claw meat. Another ocean denizen, whole Tai snapper ($19.50), was boned tableside and served with a Niçoise amalgam of tomatoes, olives, capers, and branches of fresh fennel; the lusty vegetables would've made a marvelous meal on their own, but the fish, tender-fleshed and perfectly flaky, was an excellent example of the kitchen's delicate acumen. They know what they're doing inland, too: The wild boar sausage ($12.95), dense and powerful, was served on a complimentary cushion of warm lentils, watercress, and goat cheese; taken together, the ingredients create a whole new ... whole.
The desserts aren't up to the rest of the menu; they're a bit too delicately flavored, and the sorbets ($6.50) -- Jonagold apple, Cox orange pippin apple, and pomegranate on the night of our visit -- were too icy. But the caramel-bourbon vanilla pot de crème ($6.50) had a great texture to it and an almost ethereal butterscotch flavor, while the buttermilk ice cream accompanying the lackluster persimmon pudding ($6.50) was wonderfully bland and soothing.
LuLu's staggering, exhaustive wine list covers every possible culinary need, with several hundred possibilities ranging from $20 to $475 per bottle, and a couple of pages alone dedicated to 2 oz. tastes and 6 oz. glasses. It's possible to order a good bottle without breaking the bank -- there are lots of choices in the $20 to $40 range -- and the markup isn't outrageous. The list's focus is California (and France and Italy), the bar made me a fine Stolichnaya martini, and there are also 17 grappas from Italy, 16 cognacs and seven Armagnacs from France, 18 single malts from Scotland, six sherries from Spain, and 11 bourbons from the U.S.A.
It's been a good millennium, foodwise.