Helen Freund visits a restaurant and distillery that is a first of its kind in Louisiana. Lula Restaurant-Distillery on St. Charles Avenue “is modeled on a marriage of house-distilled spirits and Southern-inspired fare, and while the space incorporates both missions, the two feel like separate concepts.” The large, “yawning” space keeps Lula from feeling like a true “neighborhood” spot, but the “casual attitude conveyed by its Southern-inspired menu and gracious waitstaff” add a lot of warmth to the space.
Freund describes the Southern-inspired food with a focus on regional ingredients and flavors, from Commander’s Palace alum Jess Bourgeois, as “elevated comfort fare” at its best. She finds that the “buttermilk-dredged Cornish hen” exemplifies this aspect of the menu. “The petite game bird is treated to a tea brine before getting battered and fried, which leaves the dark meat tender and juicy while the outside remains crispy. A bright coleslaw, chock full of green cabbage, celery and carrot bits added the appropriate amount of crunch and tang to complement the hen.” She applauds all the dishes that include “sleeper hit” creamy smoked-poblano ranch sauce. There were some misses though. The boudin egg rolls fall flat on flavor and are undercooked, while the Iberville salad drowns under too much salad dressing. [GAMBIT]