The Long Island import is serving up something unexpected at Lulu Kitchen.
Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Lisa Staff
Already a bit of a stumper, this question becomes harder and harder to answer, the more people in your party. Invariably, someone will want one thing while someone else wants another. Someone is in the mood for seafood, another for Italian. Someone will want Korean. Someone will want steak.
And so, you settle. One person will be reasonably happy, while the rest will harbor a secret grudge, deprived of their food of choice.
Or, if you want to just skip the drama, you can always head to Lulu Kitchen, where chef Scott Hastings has compiled a menu that unapologetically dances between culinary backgrounds. Here a house-fried chicken sandwich sits comfortably side by side with salmon kotobuki and a $195 A5 Japanese Kobe steak.
“What I put on the menu is what I like to eat,” said Hastings. “I’m going for something that people aren’t used to having.”
Hence the genre-free dining, which essentially catalogues all the things Hastings has toyed with during his decades in kitchens from Long Island to Sea Pines but was never able to incorporate into a cohesive menu. All tried-and-true recipes, the menu at Lulu reads like the track list of a greatest hits album, the only thematic tie between them being freshness.
“I love having the availability of great product here,” he said. “Seafood, produce — it’s right at our fingertips every day. I go out every morning and handpick everything on the menu, except of course the Wagyu beef. It’s a good feeling to know I’m giving people good ingredients.”
And that dedication to ingredients finds its way into every dish, whether it’s the macerated tomato au jus in the lobster strudel or the delicate marbling on the aforementioned Kobe steak.
“I’ll tell you the truth, I had a customer order that on Monday for his birthday. I bought him dessert and a drink and said ‘Happy Birthday.’ I want that to be accessible for people who want to try things they’ve never been able to try,” Hastings said.
8 ounces jumbo lump crab
8 ounces lobster meat, cooked
6 jumbo shrimp
6 U10 scallops
1 quart cold water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup white dry wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 radish, thinly sliced
Directions  Bring water, bay leaf, thyme, salt, one lemon squeezed and wine to a simmer. Add shrimp and scallops. Simmer till just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook.  Cool down, slice scallops in half and shrimp into three pieces. Toss all seafood, olive oil and parsley in bowl. 3. Squeeze in one lemon and season with salt and pepper and serve on a plate and garnish with remaining lemon, sliced and arranged radish.
May River Crab Bruschetta
1 pound local crab, picked
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Thin-sliced grilled baguette
Directions  In bowl toss together tomatoes, vinegar, oil, basil and parsley. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out for one hour.  Season with salt and pepper than gently fold in crab. Serve in a cold bowl garnished with baguette and chives.
Caramelized Banana Torte
4 chocolate waffle shells
2 cups pastry cream
4 ripe bananas
Fresh whipped cream
Ingredients (pastry cream)
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon vanilla
Directions  Whisk 1/2 milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and corn starch together in bowl, set aside.  Place remaining milk in heavy-bottomed pot, add vanilla, sprinkle in sugar and allow to settle to bottom.  Place over medium heat but do not stir. Bring to simmer and remove from heat, whisk in egg mixture and return to heat whisking constantly, mixture will begin to thicken after a few minutes.  Remove and place mixture in a bowl covered with plastic wrap on the custard as to not form a skin. Allow to cool at room temperature. To plate: Thinly slice 2 bananas and evenly distribute amongst 4 shells. Halve and quarter remaining bananas, sprinkle with sugar and carefully caramelize with torch. Fill shell next with custard then cream. Top with 2 bananas, then drizzle with caramel.