Lulu’s Winegarden

I love a good share plate and a solid drink. We had many a good time (and one very notable, very bad time) at the former Vinoteca (may it rest in peace) and the space has since transformed itself into Lulu’s Winegarden. It delivered immediately on the garden aspect–every inch is covered in plants, those trendy macramé chandeliers, and outdoor string lights. We were instructed to use the QR code on the table to order as well as to pay (with strict instructions to make it all one tab). Listen, I get it: pandemic. I’m not going to be futzy about the laziness and kill-joy-ity of QR code ordering…except actually I am. I don’t mind looking at the menu online if it’s not crazy huge (and Lulu’s isn’t at all), but if the staff is already bringing food out to me, why can’t they come take my order too? For god’s sake, we had old people with us! Everyone was hangry and half-screaming at each other about how and what to order and how to make the site work and whether they wanted their sandwich served “regular or sauce on the side” versus “regular sauce on the side.” Winegardens should not create more stress.

I think that is pretty much my only complaint. We ordered drinks and they showed up lickety-split. I had the Paid Vacation (second from left), which was citrusy, boozy enough, and dangerously drinkable. The by-the-glass wine menu was surprisingly short, but my husband still found a deep red that satisfied his need for super tannic astringency.

We ordered a bunch of food for the table. Due to the aforementioned hanger-induced insanity and Boomer confusion, we ended up ordering everything at once, and it arrived entirely too fast, all except the chicken sandwiches my MIL and husband’s grandmother ordered.

The first dish to appear, approximately 45 seconds after ordering, was the whipped feta. Mmmmm so much creamy, roasty, peppery, salty goodness. Everyone was a huge fan of this. The bowl is enormous and you will need at least four people to help with this. Spring for the extra bread; it was necessary.

We also got the smoked whitefish, despite my husband’s hestitancy. Thankfully he (and I) were pleasantly surprised, and devoured it with gusto. It’s extremely smoky with an intense (but delicious) saltiness and plenty of fresh herbs. It was impossible to stop.

We finished up with the pork belly pastrami sandwich. This time it was my turn to be impressed. The meat was deliciously but not overly smoky, and had those crispy edges from being cooked on the griddle. Crispy fried onions? Pickles? Yes please! The sauce was sweet and savory all at once. The only negative thing I will say about it is that it was just too much bread. Open-faced is the way.

Price: $40 per person.

Bottom line: Alright, so the food was good, if limited and pretty rushed, and the drinks were good, if too difficult to order. Service was fast, but only because the staff aren’t actually taking orders. I would definitely return for the food, but with the knowledge that there is something lacking in a restaurant experience that doesn’t involve actual interaction with the staff.

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