We talk a big game when it comes to Brooklyn eating, now that we've spent a few years riding the L and F trains to find good food in the trendier parts of the borough. And while we've got an excellent handle on neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Cobble hill, some other parts of Brooklyn are a bit more mysterious. For example, in my mind the the G train looks exactly like the mine car chase scene from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. I'm sure it's considerably less rickety and frightening than that in real life, but preconceived notions are hard to break. I also have no idea where it takes you.
Fort Greene is another example of a Brooklyn less familiar to us. We've had a handful of great meals in this part of town, but we're far from experts. What we can tell from our limited experience in the area is that there are a few solid neighborhood restaurants that have a dedicated following - Lulu & Po being the newest among them.
Lulu & Po is a small family run restaurant, and it has a distinctly small and personal feel to it. The staff is very relaxed and very friendly, almost to the point where you forget that they are employed by the restaurant, and not some sort of restaurant service peace corps. They're really just there to help. The menu also demonstrates some of that laid back approach, by sticking to simple preparation and presentations, and relying on quality ingredients to do the work. An octopus appetizer is simply one octo leg on a wood board and a side of jalapeno cilantro sauce, and it's awesome. The pork chop is one big hunk of pork with a sweet seasonal chutney on top. The iron pressed chicken is just a piece of well cooked chicken. All of these things make for a very good restaurant experience, and likely for a successful neighborhood restaurant in Fort Greene.
There was, however, one thing that we couldn't understand about this place. For all that laid back attitude, we've rarely seen such a rigid approach to a no omissions/no substitutions rule. Maybe I'm missing something, but why exactly can't you make your burger without the goat cheese on it for me? I don't exactly see Daniel Boulud back there plating dishes with a pair of tweezers, so let's not get all James Beard about this. And what happens when someone wants to order the squash, but they're allergic to the almonds that get sprinkled on top? Too bad sucker? No squash for you? Maybe you can just get away with that stuff when there are so few other options nearby. It's not like someone could just jump on the G train and head to a different part of town. That thing is really dangerous.
An interesting starter of pizza dough triangles that have been grilled and somewhat resemble pita bread and come served with a small bowl of house made ricotta for dipping. The dough is good, the ricotta is just OK. We'd say you should probably skip this one.Bone Marrow Tacos
Everyone wants to talk about the bone marrow tacos at Lulu & Po, but we couldn't figure out what all the fuss is about. Two small shanks arrive on a plate next to some warm tortillas, and you sort of make your own "taco" with the marrow and some fixins. To us it just sort of tasted like a greasy tortilla with hot sauce.House Brined Pork Chop
This big boy pork chop was really, really good. The pork is tender and juicy like it should be, and that chutney on top is delicious.Wild Mussels
Swimming in a bowl of crème fraîche broth with scallions, these mussels just didn't seem to be high quality, and the flavors were a little off. The sausage was good though.“Iron” Pressed Upstate NY Firehouse Chicken
This was quite possibly the best thing we ate at Lulu & Po, and very well may be reason enough alone to come here. The "iron" pressing results in a beautifully crispy skin and the chicken is cooked perfectly.Beef Burger
A pretty solid burger with grilled onions and goat cheese. But under no circumstances should you ask them to change a single thing about it. They actually didn't even ask how we wanted it cooked. You cannot silence me.
Like we said - one piece of octopus leg on a board with some green jalapeño cilantro sauce. It's tender and delicious, though it's a small portion for fifteen bucks.
An insanely delicious piece of squash with brown butter and almonds. This is such a simple dish, but it's done so well. Order it.