Restaurant Review: Red Lulu
By Andrew Dominick
Sunday morning, shiny black shoes, skirts and a dress shirt, guys in ties, a priest, and confession. Welcome to brunch at Red Lulu in Norwalk. Every Sunday morning from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. the nightlife geared, gothic style tequila bar, transforms to a church theme, serving up brunch that will turn you into a sinner many times over.
When you walk in, take a look around. Colors of black and a bright red really make Red Lulu pop. It is impossible not to notice the décor. From the mirrors scattered about, and the black leather booths, to the flickering flame of candles everywhere, chandeliers, and antiques, this is sure to be the type of place a vampire would hang out. Sprinkled about the dining area is a certain tackiness with lucha libre masks hanging up and a walls that projects either bad movies or an anime cartoon that adds a cool, nerdy vibe. The female servers decked out in plaid skirts and dress shirts add a Catholic school girl look.
Now it’s time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the freebies handed out at Lulu’s brunch. First up is a grapefruit granita served in a metal bowl with mini spoons that comes out with that dry ice smoking effect that will make you say, “Ooh” and “Ahh.” If something to cool you down and provide a sweet-tart taste is what you need, this is it. Following the icy treat is a plate of blueberry cornbread. When the server asks if you want the glaze, say yes. The tequila lime glaze gets poured over top and it’s time to dig in. The sweetness from the glaze and blueberries mixed with the cornbread could easily result in eating a plate full of these baked goods.
If you were bad on Saturday night, or any night, take a tour into a dimly lit back room for confession. Just like if you had gone to church, it is time to be absolved of your sins. A candle, a bottle of silver Don Julio tequila, and a “priest” await you. Even though you can barely make out his face, there is indeed a real person back there. Do not be afraid to shoot the breeze with him, you will not be judged, and it is all in good fun, not to mention the free shot of tequila and a fresh orange slice you get for going back there. Throw a buck or two in the tip jar, it’s worth it.
With all the excitement of free food and a shot, let’s not distract from the food. Red Lulu specializes in upscale Mexican cuisine with a twist. The brunch is much of the same. Whether you decide on Giagante Red Velvet Pancakes, Steak ‘N’ Eggs, or Baja Shrimp Tacos (beer battered shrimp with avocado salsa and mango-serrano slaw), there is something on the menu for everyone, but keep in mind, this is no “two eggs any style with meat” breakfast. Red Lulu is far and away better than the ordinary.
What you should order is the Gorda Torta, a sandwich consisting of pernil (slow roasted pork), egg, cheese, refried beans, and creamy avocado, on a soft, but perfectly chewy hard roll. The well seasoned pork gives off a spiciness that meshes with the creaminess of the cheese and avocado that makes this breakfast sandwich better than any bacon, egg, and cheese around. The Gorda Torta will run you $13 and included is a side of spicy home fries.
A sure bet for a Sunday morning “wake me up” drink is Red Lulu’s Diablo Margarita. This margarita’s ingredients include Lunazul Reposado tequila, orange triple sec, blood orange, fresh pineapples and strawberries, and the ingredient that is not for the wimpy, serrano chiles. This drink has spice alert written all over it. But it’s deceptive with a sweet start and devilishly hot finish.
They even end your meal with one more free item, sour apple cotton candy for parting gift of sweetness. If all the giveaways aren’t enough the food is. If spice and Sunday brunch is your thing, Red Lulu is the place to be. If Sunday morning church is your thing, skip it and come here. It’s time to become a sinner with Red Lulu.
Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar
128 Washington Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854
Hours: Mon to Thurs 5pm-12am; Fri to Sat 5pm-1am; Sun 5pm-12am; Brunch Hours Sunday 11:30am-3pm
Andrew Dominick is a freelance writer and food blogger living in Norwalk, Connecticut. His articles can be found at andrew-dominick.blogspot.com and his food reviews at food-dudes.blogspot.com