“Bra & Grill” reads the front door. NO, it’s not a typo, but a Lulu’s trademark that has prevailed throughout its cozy existence on Amelia Island.Lulu’s is currently in the able hands of owner, Chef Brian Grimley. Originally from England, Grimley is a self-taught chef with at least 40 years of cooking under his belt. After running a restaurant in Virginia, he and his wife decided to settle on this tiny island off Florida’s coast. Five years ago, the Grimleys took over Lulu’s and tacked “at the Thompson House” onto the name, giving Lulu’s a fresh title and a superb menu with an ironclad hold over the locals, and now over me.
Prepare to feel snug in Lulu’s, which has seven tables inside, plus a few patio seats. I recommend reserving ahead of time. Be sure not to knock on the door of the neighboring Thompson House, like I almost did. Turns out, the Grimleys live in the Thompson House. Talk about working from home.
A quick glance at Yelp let me know that I would be crazy to leave Lulu’s without trying a crab cake. This fried cake ($11) sat in a delicious puddle of Old Bay remoulade. The crusty exterior concealed soft, fleshy crabmeat that soaked up the tart remoulade. A squirt of fresh lemon gave the crab a zesty flavor that lingered in the best way possible.
While shrimp-and-grits finds its way onto most menus here in the South, Chef Grimley has an interesting take on the dish ($21). Fresh, local shrimp are tossed over a grit patty. At first glance, the patty seems overwhelmed by the shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and sausage, but after eating my way through the entire dish (without a grit to spare), I’d say the patty is more than adequate.
It isn’t every day that I discover a mac ’n’ cheese covered in Alfredo, with chunks of chorizo, shrimp, and sundried tomatoes ($24). Naturally, I tried that, too (don’t worry, I had a partner abetting in my overindulgent crime). The sundried tomatoes were my favorite part. They were so incredibly flavorful, with hints of sweet, spicy, and savory in each bite. Colorful arugula decorated the dish, a leafy green to make up for all the carbs. So that makes it a salad, right?
By the time I gobbled down my last shrimp, I was stuffed to the brim. The thought of dessert was unfathomable – until I heard our server, Courtney, telling folks at a nearby table just what delectable items were on the dessert list. Well, I told myself, my job is to be a thorough diner-slash-reporter. So I ordered blueberry cobbler, a perfect conclusion to the meal. It was surprisingly light and airy, not too much for my expanding waistline.
Chef Grimley’s Lulu’s isn’t just for locals, but for anyone looking for fantastic Southern-style cuisine in an idyllic island setting.