Waters Runs Cold…Los Angeles Restaurant Review


I was psyched about the iconic Alice Waters involvement in opening a new restaurant in Los Angeles.

We always enjoyed Chez Panisse when we lived in San Francisco so I was really looking forward to the opening of Lulu at the Hammer Museum in Westwood.

Lulu is led by acclaimed chef, writer and cookbook author David Tanis and conceived with legendary chef and food activist Alice Waters.

The museum has interesting exhibits, but it is not my favorite cultural center.

We recently ate lunch at Lulu.

The restaurant set up is delightful and although extreme renovations were not made to the former Audrey courtyard dining area Lulu is physically very appealing.

The place was full.

The service was not attentive…staff was friendly, but items were forgotten.

We started with beverages. David’s Prairie Gimlet (Prairie organic vodka, cucumber, maple syrup, lime) arrived in a cracked glass. He waited a long time for a replacement ($17).

My Vermentino was delightful, but way tardy to the party ($16).

The menu changes constantly. An a la carte menu offers sandwiches, soups and salads.

I had planned on ordering the three-course tasting menu ($45), but it was so weird.

We ended up starting with a plate of small pieces of Parmigiano served with Dates and Almonds. It was tasty ($12).

This was followed by the Chickpea Hummus with crudités and Za’atar toast which was fine, the veggies were refreshing ($12).

The salad never arrived and we cancelled after 45 minutes.

The gracious manager insisted we have the salad and comped us, but one of the most popular items on the menu was completely mediocre ($18).

The Clark Street country bread and cultured butter was average ($5).

The bar area is attractive and if you are visiting the Hammer Lulu is a good place for a drink and appetizer, but right now I cannot recommend as a destination meal.

Interesting point is Lulu hopes to connect UCLA students and the affiliated museum with hands-on opportunities to learn and even work in the kitchen (they’ve already hired a couple of UCLA students).

They also hope to use the connection to the UC system to spur discussions of local food sourcing on a large, university-size scale.

It sounds as if dinner service will commence in May, but I don’t think we shall return unless we are perusing the Hammer.

Lulu Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Boulevard Westwood, California. Lunch reservations available on Resy Tuesday-Sunday between 12-2pm. Restaurant hours 12am-6pm. Street and garage parking available.

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