A taste of spontaneity

No matter how creative and delicious the food is at a restaurant, after a while the same food gets boring. A chef can offer wonderful nightly specials, but diners crave more change than this.

If you want to break the routine other restaurants offer, try the cuisine at LuLou’s. LuLou’s changes its menu each week, offering what the chef describes as “creative American” cuisine to the Reno dining community.

The inside of the restaurant is dimly lit with an open kitchen, so the guests can watch as the chef tosses a salad or decorates an entree plate. The servers move in a rhythm that connects them with diners and their food.

The menu LuLou’s featured this past week looked great. The menu had no particular theme. It was just a list of dishes made with a creative flair and an obvious attention to detail. Some of the more interesting dishes listed for appetizers included baked Moroccan baby lobster ($9), warm pistachio-crusted goat cheese ($7) and lump crab and mushroom skillet cake ($13.95), which consisted of truffled crabmeat, fingerling potatoes and crème fraiche. The seared foie gras served with caramelized mango and port syrup ($15) was boasted by the waiter as LuLou’s signature appetizer. You just don’t see such variety in most restaurants.

For appetizers, Erin and I selected the baked Moroccan baby lobster and the romaine hearts and bleu cheese ($5.75) to split. As we waited for our appetizers, I sipped my wine, a Merlot from Sonoma ($5.50), as I watched four diners enjoy dessert in the patio. Seven tables sit in the enclosed shaded garden with big, white umbrellas to mask the sun. It would be a nice, cool place to relax with wine and food as the sun melts into the horizon.

The service at LuLou’s is exceptional. The diners are never left with an empty water glass or dirty dish in front of them. The bus people even use crummers to clean the specks of food that remain after diners are finished with their meals.

Before the appetizers arrived, we finally selected entrees. I chose the scallops ($22) and Erin decided on the salmon ($17.50). Entrees at LuLou’s consist of the same variety as the appetizers. Among the delicacies offered for dinner are a grilled chicken breast with a pistachio saffron rice and sugar snap peas ($14.95), crisp duck confit with white corn mascarpone risotto and grilled duck breast ($18.95) and sautéed sea bass with clams, shrimp, roast peppers and pearl pasta ($19).

The eight baby lobsters we ordered were soaked in garlic and basil and tasted superb. The romaine salad was excellent as well. The tiny chunks of apples and walnuts that were tossed in the lettuce and bleu cheese made the salad. I ate every bite. Our entrees were also delicious. The salmon was drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette and accompanied with asparagus. The sauce the chef chose was perfect for the salmon. The presentation was outstanding. My scallops were equally as good. The truffled potatoes served with my dish were worth every bite. And the sautéed artichokes that accompanied the scallops were delightfully tasty.

The dessert was even better. We ordered the chocolate tart ($6). It takes 10 minutes for it to be served, but the wait was worth it. The crème fraiche on the tart was the best I’ve tasted. What I liked is that the chef takes risks with his food and it works. The spontaneity of LuLou’s menu and its delicious food and great service make this place a spot Reno diners must try.