FAMED CHEF ALICE WATERS SWINGS AT HAMMER MUSEUM
It was really big L.A. news when chef Alice Waters, famous for helping craft California cuisine with her farm-to-table institution Chez Panisse in Berkeley, announced that she was opening a restaurant in the Southland.
Lulu at the Hammer Museum teams Waters with acclaimed chef, writer, and cookbook author David Tanis. Lulu is a shared celebration of good food that is good for the planet, a restaurant committed to local, regenerative food sourcing and design. Prioritizing sustainability in every way, the foundation of Lulu’s mission is to procure directly from small, nearby farms practicing regenerative organic agriculture, which results in wholesome, delicious food grown using methods that combat the climate crisis.
While that sounds pretty lofty, it means that Lulu is a dining destination for quality eats, albeit pricey and sometimes a tad too small. Because all the ingredients are sourced daily, the menu constantly changes. A three-course prix fixe menu costs $45.
Examples of menu options include appetizers such as baked Sonoma goat cheese with garden lettuces and golden beets, and California halibut carpaccio with Meyer lemon; main dishes like Mediterranean fish and shellfish stew with local rock cod and Dungeness crab, and North African lamb tagine with saffron couscous; and desserts such as lemon tart with créme Chantilly, and olive oil walnut cake with pomegranate. Lulu’s a la carte offerings include focaccia sandwiches like mozzarella and arugula with Casella’s prosciutto and a vegetarian eggplant Banh Mi.
Currently, Lulu is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch only from 11am to 6pm so that means day drinking! During our recent visit, we definitely started with cocktails. The Spanish Gin & Tonic is exorbitant at $25 but it’s a decent libation made with very nice Vanagandr London Dry gin. Buy this drink only if you’re feeling fancy.
The Prairie Gimlet with Prairie organic vodka, cucumber, maple syrup, lime, and basil is a nice starter. The Unbridled with Old Forester, rye, mint, orange juice, lime juice, and organic date syrup was too sweet for my liking. The Granada Salvia with Arette blanco tequila, sage, fresh pomegranate juice, lime and agave is a pleasant day drink.
We started our meal with some a la carte sharable options. The Parmigiano with dates and almonds is a simple dish but it combines favorites of mine—cheese, dates and almonds. At $12 it went very fast but it was very pleasing.
The $18 baked goat cheese with mixed lettuces is indulgent but worth it. That is why we eat out at fancy restaurants, right? The richness of the goat cheese was cool comfort food.
Our three-course meal this day consisted of Cacio e pepe pasta (too peppery and too small); Grilled Jidori chicken breast with mild mushrooms and polenta (kudos…this was fantastic); and Olive oil walnut cake with pomegranate for dessert (another winner).
And do opt for liquid dessert as the Lulu Daiquiri made with San Zanj white rum, fresh lime, demerara syrup, and lime zest is a crowd pleaser. Pair it with the cake or enjoy it on its own. This is a great showstopper.
Pro tip: Head into the Hammer Museum before or after your meal as admission is free.
Time at Lulu at the Hammer Museum is a very relaxing experience. Dine al fresco and make it a long and lazy time with good food and drink.
Lulu is located at the Hammer Museum at 10899 Wilshire Blvd in Westwood. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Book reservations online.
Story & Photography By: Jose Martinez