If you’re like most Carroll Gardens residents, you’ve probably been to before—and you’ve probably either eaten or . And, it’s true, they are not to be missed. I’ve tried to get the recipe before, and it’s evidently a closely kept secret, but I hear that it involves baking them in the oven. One of these days, I’m going to try to replicate them at home—though I’m sure that it will only send me running back to Luluc for the real thing. Stay tuned for that effort—or, just head to Luluc for brunch this weekend and check them out yourself—you won’t be disappointed. (Insider tip: It’s not on the menu, but you can ask for just one pancake if you find yourself in the classic salty-sweet breakfast dilemma).
But, I digress. What I really want to introduce you to is one of the best—if not the best—deals in the neighborhood, and it’s Luluc’s Tuesday Mussels Night special. For just $7.95, every Tuesday evening, they offer a HUGE bowl of mussels (several preparations), along with a more-than-I-should-eat-but-I-can’t-help-it portion of French fries on the side. I’ve now become a bit of a regular, and have tried just about every variety they offer—they have them with cheese, with fennel, with tomato sauce, with lemon and olive oil—something for everyone. I usually go for the version with fennel and tomato in a white wine broth, and they are amazing. Fresh, well-sized, and there are never empty or closed shells—exactly as they should be. And the fries—hand-cut, perfectly prepared, somewhere between shoestring and steak-frites—again, perfect.
If you’re not a seafood fan but going along for the ride, there is obviously a full dinner menu to choose from. The salads are excellent—especially the Grilled Tiger Shrimp Salad—as is the classic hamburger and fries (seriously, you must try the fries!). The whole menu is well-curated and the food that has passed my table has unfailingly looked great—though my standbys are so good that I don’t usually stray too far.
Beyond the food, Luluc has a just-slightly grungy French bistro feel that I love, day or night. The space is mirrored all around to make it feel more open, with some distressing on the mirrors—for ‘authenticity’, I suppose. There are booths and tables, and of course, as per Smith Street standards, the requisite cute garden out back—which really helps cut down the brunch wait during the warmer months. The staff occasionally exhibits a laissez-faire attitude that can be frustrating, but they always come through before it gets downright annoying—and they are consistently pleasant and friendly.
If you haven’t been to Café Luluc, it’s a must-do for any CG resident. If you’ve only indulged in brunch, check out the weeknight specials, especially Mussels Night—particularly if you’re dining on a budget, this is a neighborhood gem.
Café Luluc is located at 214 Smith Street, between Baltic and Butler Streets. It is open Monday-Thurs 7:30 AM – 12 AM, Fri 7:30 AM – 2 AM, Sat 8 AM – 2 AM, and Sun 8 AM – 12 AM.