Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lulu's Noodles (Oakland)

Last week I met up with a couple of friends at Lulu's Noodles in the heart of Pittsburgh's College Central for an early dinner.  I had heard good things about Lulu's Noodles and was excited to finally give it a try.

I had read in the reviews that Lulu's isn't very authentic, which admittedly made me cringe a bit.  I don't mean to be a snob, but as a Chinese person, I believe I have the right to react with horror in response to unauthentic Chinese food and I don't apologize for it.  As I browsed through the menu, the fear of Lulu's being unauthentic was mostly confirmed.  (Er...General Tso's Chicken??)  Also, I have to say I wasn't quite sure what Lulu's was trying to be.  In addition to Chinese, Lulu's has a handful of menu items from the Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisines. Mixing Asian cuisines is usually another red flag for me, and I have never seen a restaurant do so to the extent that Lulu's does.

All that said, however, I was delighted to see that they have a bubble drinks menu.  I don't particularly like the bubbles (tapioca) themselves, but I like bubble drinks.  Go figure.  Not being able to resist, I ordered a Taro Frozen Fruit drink.  I loved it!  OK, so at least that was pretty authentic and well done.

Taro Fruit Freeze at Lulu's Noodles
Taro Frozen Fruit Drink

For my entree, I figured it would probably be appropriate to have noodles, seeing that the place is called Lulu's Noodles and all.  I also tried to pick something that seemed relatively authentic.  The Wonton Noodle Soup caught my eye.  The promise of fresh noodles flown in from San Francisco was intriguing.  If there is one place in the US that can do Chinese food right, I would think it would be San Francisco.  Besides, I hadn't had shrimp and pork wontons for a while, so I figured I was due.

Wonton Noodle Soup at Lulu's Noodles
Wonton Noodle Soup ($5.95)

I was pretty happy with this as well.  It was simple and reminded me of casual Chinese diners with hard, round fold-out stools and stainless steel teapots.  Only Lulu's doesn't make you sit on those terrible stools. The wontons were pretty good, but the noodles definitely stole the show as they tasted fresh and were perfectly al dente...or whatever the Chinese term for it would be.  On top of that, it was cheap - just like Wonton Noodle Soup should be.  I've heard that Lulu's food can sometimes but a hit or miss, but the Wonton Noodle Soup is one I can recommend.

So despite my initial misgivings, I enjoyed my visit to Lulu's.

Restaurant info:
Lulu's Noodles
400 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Lulu's Noodles on Urbanspoon