Location: 2030 Central St., KC MO
Food: Mostly Thai noodles, some other Asian influences
Service: Traditional waitstaff
Atmosphere: Vibrant lunch, slow dinner
Price: Entrees $9-$14, $7.49 lunch menu
Rating: two napkins
I always kinda liked the old Lulu’s location right there at the bustling Crossroads intersection of Broadway and Southwest Boulevard. Its bright green woodwork beckoned to those yearning for an eclectic spot with good Asian noodle dishes, like me.
|Not visible here is a funny sign in the door that|
seemingly bans customers from bringing in durian,
a notoriously stinky Asian fruit banned many places
in the East.
So it was with notable optimism that I watched and waited for this new location to open, just a half block southeast of the original on Central. What else would the “new Lulu’s” have in store… a new menu? New vibe? New clientele?
|Yes, there really are those creepy giant|
gold fish in there.
First things first: the favorites from the old menu are still there and some new features have livened it up (I'm particularly excited about the Thai Street Foods section—Gai-Yang, anyone?). So if you liked their food before, you still will. And if not, you’re out of luck. But who didn’t like it? It’s one of the few places in town where one can get Thai food, period, the ingredients are fresh and tasty, there are several seriously spicy options for the heat freaks and the prices are good. Better than the competition, by far, and the food just as good if not better. Get on board, I say.
|Lamp shades are upside down woks. Clever!|
|Six person booths are fun. So are the bright walls.|
|Vietnamese spring rolls. Not worth it.|
|Crab Rangoon. Worth it.|
|Look how they stuff so many fresh veg|
into this bowl of Drunken Noodles.
Our dinner started with spring rolls, again, despite my pleading for dumplings. Elizabeth regretted her decision immediately, taking a big bite and then proclaiming the peanut sauce to be terrible. We’ve completely written them off now. But what lacked in our app was made up for with our two delicious entrees.
I tried the Banh Mi, not recognizing it from the menu of old. I was shocked at its size (mammoth, approximately). A heap of ground pork filled a long, soft baguette and came topped with daikon, carrot, cilantro, cucumber and plenty of sriracha aioli. Sweet and salty pork, crisp, sweet veggies, spicy aioli, bright, citusy cilantro… it all played so nicely together. Worth every penny of its $7.79 price.
I was surprised Elizabeth and I both wanted the Pad Num Mun Hoy, as we’re not big Chinese sauce fans, and the menu touts this dish as Pan-seared egg noodles, green beans, mushrooms and broccoli in a Chinese inspired brown sauce ($10.29). But we got it and we loved it. Here again the veggies were cooked perfectly. Crunchy, softened just a little. The noodles were springy and the sauce, though, yes, a dark brown, sweet, sugary substance, wasn’t too goopy or thick. It brought everything together deliciously.
Between Pad Num Mun Hoy and the Drunken Noodles, I’m a bigger fan of the Drunken, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Chinese-inspired Pad to anyone.
So I’m applying the valid clichés: Lulu’s is back and better than ever. New look, same great taste. They’ve cured the most egregious of its former faults (lunch rush overwhelmed-ness) but will have to keep working on the sparse dinner crowd.
Rating: two napkins