Restaurant of the Week: Lulu

Julie Besonen

Totally under the radar, Lulú is one of those little Nolita spots that you might pass by every day and never notice. Inside it's like a dark, cozy pub, the walls covered in vintage photos of yesteryear stars like Gloria Swanson and Josephine Baker. Up front are wooden booths and a cute bar. In back is a party room and small smoking patio, something to keep in mind if you're assembling a big group of friends who haven't renounced all their vices. Snacking menus are quite the thing these days, and Lulú delivers a good one, from buttery wild mushrooms spilling over brioche ($5) to crispy risotto fritters dunked in tomato sauce ($5). Jewel-like pickled baby beets are crowned with dollops of goat cheese ($5). You can also stop in for a simple plate of Manchego cheese with good bread ($5), matched with a glass of wine from the esoteric list. Chef Eric Fleischer adds farmers' market touches wherever he can, like parsnips, spinach and salsify alongside his crisp-skinned dorade ($17). A lusty and spicy pasta puttanesca ($14) is made with heirloom tomatoes and roasted garlic, the portion so generous it was impossible to finish. All of this, combined with sweet service, should put Lulú more on the map.

235 Mulberry St.
(212) 966-6616

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