Owner Sylvano Bignon presents Lulu's salmon plate.
Owner Sylvano Bignon presents Lulu's salmon plate. For The Miami Herald

With a lounge vibe and a small-plate menu that invites noshing, Lulu has turned up the street-side buzz on the corner of Commodore Plaza and Main Highway. Finally, a restaurant in the Grove that doesn’t serve sushi or pizza! Lulu shares owners – Sylvano and Maida Bignon – and a friendly professionalism with GreenStreet Cafe across the street, but that’s where comparisons end. While GreenStreet sticks to stalwarts like fried calamari and pesto linguine that have kept regulars coming back for 20 years, Lulu plays the artsy, younger sibling, offering creative, tapas-style dishes with fresh flavor combinations and affordable wines.

Ambience: Inside, there’s seating at a small, tidy bar as well as in a cozy corner of booths surrounded by Moroccan-inspired tile and flickering candles. The hub of activity, though, is outside on the brick sidewalk, where comfortable, wood-framed couches and chairs with red cushions share real estate with round, café-style tables. Eating here is like finding a prime spot at a happening party where you can kick back and wait for delectable finger foods to come your way.

What Worked

  • Roasted, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Manchego cheese and sausage
  • Crispy flat bread topped with skirt steak, bleu cheese and caramelized onion
  • Sweet and spicy ginger chicken wings
Buttery, skewered corncobs punched up with Japanese shichimi seasoning
  • Glorious, roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with mandarin oranges and balsamic vinegar
  • A generous helping of burrata, mozzarella’s creamy cousin, with mixed greens and grilled, herbed tomatoes
  • A fresh & filling trio of fish tacos (with blackened mahi mahi, pico de gallo, cabbage, guacamole and tartar sauce
  • Elegantly upgraded macaroni and cheese in black truffle béchamel and fettuccine carbonara in bacon-cream sauce
  • New York strip steak in shallot burgundy sauce
  • A thick and juicy rib-eye
  • Jalapeño mashed potatoes, a shocking-green side dish that is more smoky than spicy
  • A simple, moderately priced 24-bottle list of European, Latin American and California wines – all glasses are $8, and all bottles $25
  • Smart, smiling, attentive & menu-literate servers

What Didn’t Work

  • Consistently fatty lamb ribs in Thai chili sweet sauce
  • Dry & tasteless fried green tomatoes
  • Disappointingly singular & small Kobe beef slider
  • Only passable crème brûlée