Back in 2015 I was invited to a new Chinese restaurant concept in Westchester by veteran restaurateur Jody Pennette. Skeptical as to how this type of cuisine could be different and better, I went. What I experienced was indeed that and more. Chinese food, I soon learned, could be delicious, even healthful, sticking to simple flavors and using organic ingredients while placing these dishes in the middle of a dynamic and upscale setting.
Fast forward and I am invited to Greenwich to check out Pennette’s latest Chinese food adventure. Once again he pushes the envelope with another, though similar, take on this ethnic fare, bringing us LuLu Chinese with its lighter brighter versions.
The approach is simple; classic Chinese recipes prepared with healthy ingredients, vegetables that are organic and locally grown, wild and line-caught fish, organic and humanely raised beef, organic free-range chicken, vegetarian fed pork, and LuLu’s pledge to only using ingredients free off growth hormones, antibiotics, and artificial flavors. LuLu takes Chinese-American comfort food and adapts it to the way people eat today.
The intimate restaurant and bar with its minimalist interior evokes more of a SoHo vibe than that of suburban Connecticut, but the simplicity and minimalism are every bit intentional. Here the focus is solely on the food.
I had the opportunity to sit next to and talk with Pennette as we waited for our food. He spoke about the inspiration behind this new venture which is really nothing more than re-introducing traditional Chinese recipes and flavors he grew up with while reflecting today’s lifestyle. We talked about his rich and lengthy career in the food industry and I nearly fell backwards off of my chair in excitement: Pennette not only introduced Asian Fusion cuisine to the area over two decades ago, but he brought one of my all-time favorite restaurants to the area.
Baang was a blend of modern and traditional, in décor and cuisine, and exceptional much in the way one would expect to find such a restaurant in Manhattan. I was a frequent diner there until I moved up the Gold Coast to settle in Fairfield.
But we’re looking forward now… to LuLu.
We continued to talk as copious amounts of mouth-watering dishes presented themselves to us. I reached for a Spicy Beef Bao bun with crispy onion and wasabi mayonnaise. The dough was as pillowy and airy as I had hoped it would be, the crispiness of the onion offered a nice textural contrast and the wasabi mayo offered me just the right amount of heat. Shanghai Soup Dumplings with local vegetables and Berkshire pork were delicious and ever so slurp-worthy. Go ahead, bite and slurp – it’s the only way to do it!
I remembered the Classic Peking Duck (or a version of it) from Wuji. Served with green onion, cucumber, pancakes, and hoisin sauce, this proved to be just as wonderful and really is a must-have. Also from Wuji, I remember the Spicy Fried Rice topped with an organic fried egg and crispy shallots. Once again I found it to be outrageous. It is, not surprisingly, a popular choice here as well.
You won’t find General Tso’s chicken or any of those American takes on Chinese food, but for those who do like a little sweet I highly recommend the Tangerine Beef, tangy, citrusy and tender. Prefer a little heat? I assure you that The Fiery Pepper Steak will not disappoint. Thin strips of beef are tossed in the wok with hot and sweet peppers. For a milder fare the Cantonese Roast Chicken with its crispy skin is garnished with crispy garlic and shallots. Incredible flavor is permeated throughout. A popular request for those feeling a little less adventurous a traditional (free range) Chicken and Broccoli is offered.
May I offer you an aperitif before your meal? LuLu offers a wide selection of beer wine and sake. I might encourage you to try some of their cocktails. The Siracha Margarita absolutely blew me away. A little heat, a little sweet – it was fabulous. For those of you wanting something a little stronger, a little more masculine. Smoke on the Water will certainly put some hairs on your chest. Smoky, with a hint of citrus your worries will soon melt away.
Do let me twist your arm… may I steer you over to the Banana Spring Roll? Imagine this… a sweet spring roll with its crispy, flaky crust wrapped around a decadent banana cheesecake with caramel sauce drizzled over the top and the smoothest vanilla ice cream scooped into a small ramekin on the side… Seriously, run, don’t wok!
Delivery is available to nearby locations via a hot, insulated carrier case.
55 LEWIS ST, GREENWICH CT 06830 | (203) 861-1988