By David Wayne
When people find out that I write restaurant reviews, they ask me to recommend the best restaurant in the valley. After I finish laughing I say, I could tell them where to go every night of the week for a month and not hit a bad restaurant. One of them I am adding to that list is Lulu California Bistro. Location, location, location, in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, on one of the most busy corners of the “main drag”, Arenas and South Palm Canyon.
My wife and I were seated in a beautiful booth, with a view of Palm Canyon through the windows past the patio. Ricky, our server’s assistant, was there immediately to ask us if we preferred a bottle of sparkling or plain water. We asked for sparkling, and as he went to get it, Jessica arrived with a warm friendly smile. We like to ask for recommendations, and Jessica was not shy to tell us what she thought was best for our tastes. For our first appetizer, we had the most popular, an Avocado Tuna Tower which was finely chopped seared tuna, inner mixed with avocado, in a tower shape. Alongside the tower were seaweed, ginger, wasabi, soy sauce, and crispy wontons. Our second appetizer was Filet Mignon Skewers: thin strips of filet on skewers, stabbed into a baked caramelized apple. Both of these dishes had us understanding why Lulu’s has award winning chefs, led by executive chef Arturo Casillas. After the appetizers, Jessica told us we had to try the Lobster Salad, so who were we to argue. The salad had whole chunks of lobster, large shrimp, mixed baby greens, passion fruit, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, in a tortilla bowl; with a passion fruit vinaigrette dressing. We could have ended the meal there and been completely satisfied.
Jessica had not steered us wrong up to this point, so we totally allowed her to choose our entrees. I had Pork Chops, grilled and served with baked apples in a syrup glaze, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. It was a ten ounce pork chop that was thick, juicy, and oh so tender. My wife had their Maui Onion Gorgonzola Pear Pizza, on a gluten-free crust. I feel like the name says it all, and yes it was as good as it sounds. Jessica had my wife doing some wine tasting, and brought her three glasses with a few sips each of: Chalone Pinot Noir, Vina Punta Nino Chile Cabernet, and Domino Merlot. Each glass of wine seemed to compliment the other, and left my wife very pleased. She also had a Key Lime Pie Martini, that too was as good as it sounds, and a very beautiful drink.
We were full and very satisfied, but for the sake of the review, of course we had to have dessert. We had two; the first was one of the best desserts we have ever had, called Floating Island. This tasty treat was in a margarita style glass with crème brulee cream, a floating meringue, nuts, agave nectar honey, and a strawberry on top. The second dessert was their gluten-free Flourless Triple Chocolate Cake: a brownie style first layer with a second layer of thick chocolate mousse, and topped with dark chocolate. The cake was rich and very delicious.
With a friendly staff that provides great service, a great location, and a soothing fun atmosphere, Lulu’s is one of the premier restaurants in Palm Springs. Our thanks to General Manager Willie Rhine for having us dine in his fine establishment. If you are on the East side of the valley, you can visit their sister restaurant, Acqua Pazza in Rancho Mirage.
200 South Palm Canyon, Palm Springs