After several visits to Red Lulu and dozens of fervid reader comments later, it has become quite clear we are dealing with a different sort of dining beast in Fairfield County. The contemporary interpretations of Mexican fare combined with a trademark cultivated cool make Red Lulu in South Norwalk an interesting yet polarizing new space.
I like to think of it as a younger bare-midriff version of sister restaurant Lolita Cocina in Byram. With that review already in the bag, Red Lulu demands a different sort of attention, more of a wink and a nod to it’s quirky roots. For these reasons it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb, a satirical comedy that doesn't it take itself too seriously.
Here are some other reasons why we should stop worrying and just enjoy Red Lulu.
It’s gothic meets brothel with a dash of mortuary and a big sense of humor. If Stanley Kubrick and Timothy Burton collaborated on a film, this would be their twisted movie set.
There is a time and place for formality when dining. If you want to sit ram rod straight in your chair; if you prefer a well-lit space; if you’d like a quiet romantic corner; if you have a repressed fear of red damask; it is true, Red Lulu may not be for you. And if it is for you, it may not be for you every night.
If you’re a teetotaler, Red Lulu’s tart aqua frescas are a major win. The lime coco is a tart and creamy party in a glass. And if you do imbibe, your options grow considerably longer. Call a cab home or plan on many a return trip. We love the Diablo Margarita and White Sangria (lychees, how I love thee), two drinks I have come to crave if I am within 10 miles of South Norwalk. And there are over 75 brands of tequilas. On one evening I overheard a table request to take home the empty tequila bottle they just polished off. Or don't ask for permission ...
Mango Hot Sauce
Dear Red Lulu Managment,
Yes, I am responsible for stealing the bottle of mango hot sauce that late night in October. If you would kindly provide its recipe, I will promise to return the empty bottle. By the way, did you know it’s quite good paired with vanilla ice cream? Food for thought.
If you’re going to blast music in your watering hole, it better be good and I better not hear Gaga unless I am in a spin class or chaperoning a high school dance. Thankfully at Lulu there is no Gaga (sorry kids), but there is a thumping bass that will force you to dig deep for your best lip-reading skills. For you music lovers out there, Lulu takes it’s music seriously with a fun and eclectic breadth of music which can be attributed to talented DJ (and media director for the restaurant group that owns Lulu) Scotty Marz.
Crack Corn Bread
Our politically incorrect nickname for the best cornbread this side of the Mason Dixon. You can bet it’s not healthy but chances are you are not coming to Lulu to conform with your low-carb vegan diet. And yes, we’ve already snagged the recipe for you here.
Traditional. Not Quite. Thank Goodness.
That is definitely one word I would not use to describe Red Lulu or its dishes. There are several very successful contemporary takes on traditional dishes such as the carnitas – a savory pork entree paired with salsa verde, and the very popular carne asada – a succulent garlic marinated skirt steak. But traditional? Nope.