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LALOU

BEST NEW BISTRO

LALOU

SHORTLISTED BY BISTRONAUT #1

WHO
Some restaurants become beloved because the team behind them modestly lets the product speak for itself. Such is the case at LaLou, a neighborhood gem opened by Ilyssa Satter, Ashley Rath, Dave Foss and Joe Campanale (Fausto, L’Artusi, Dell’anima). Campanale has a reputation for quietly creating one neighborhood favorite after another. With LaLou, an organic wine bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, he’s done it again. This time, his partners Dave Foss (Anfora), and Ilyssa Satter wisely picked chef Ashley Rath. Rath is a quiet superstar in her own right, having received glowing reviews as chef of The Grill, and with a pedigree that includes Gramercy Tavern and Atera, among others.

FOOD
While LaLou partners call it a wine bar, the powerhouse chef certainly cooks like she’s shooting for the stars. The food blew us away, with menu options tight and straightforward. Everything is delicious, well-executed and thoughtfully designed to pair well with the wines.
Fried olives ($8) may be the best warm olive plate in NYC, with a generous heap of Castelvetrano olives rolled in a light gluten-free flour and sitting on a bed of garlic dip.
Cobia tartare with pickled veg was brightly acidic and well-seasoned, with crispy chips on top for crunch ($15).
I didn’t want to share the Bibb lettuce salad with radish, herbs and feta buttermilk dressing ($12).
Spaghetti with chickpea and black pepper was so perplexingly good, the creamy, flavorful chickpea had me thinking it was a squash purée ($18).
But the Roast Chicken for 2 ($44) is the real standout. Brined for 72 hours, the meat is supple and delicious and served with garlic aioli. We have no qualms about saying that this might be the city’s best chicken dish.
The desserts of Eton Mess with fresh strawberries ($11) or Beignets with lavender and honey ($9) are nice, but the plate of Mistoa cheese and plums ($9) was our favorite.

DRINKS
Every wine on this well-curated list is organic. Ask the somm for guidance and you’ll be able to easily find a wine that allows you to dip a toe in the natural wine waters, or dive right into something super funky and biodynamic. Unclear what the difference is between all these categories? The very knowledgeable managers can cheerfully explain without it feeling pedantic. Spain, Italy, France, Georgia, and Austria are all represented, while some American options appear too. Glasses start at $11. There is also a small selection of cocktails.

DECOR
The space is perfectly nice inside – a palette of pale grays and whites with a J-shaped concrete bar and plywood booths in a semi-finished, spartan design provide an inoffensive backdrop that allows the focus to be on the food and wine. Whitewashed peg board and walls, blonde wood tables and heavy white lanterns make for an industrial chic setting.

NOISE
Jay-Z and Pharrell on the soundtrack kept the energy high that evening. Some patrons got a bit boisterously loud, but for the most part, the more adult clientele kept things at a decent decibel.

SEATING
Square, woven rush bar stools for 15 and room for 35 more on plywood banquette seating lining the wall across from the open kitchen. An additional 20 seats in the backyard garden will open soon for brunch. As of when this was written, only drinks were being served there.

VIBE
Industry people, neighborhood patrons mostly wearing obscure designers or vintage tees and ripped jeans mingled with young parents on date night and lovers of natural wine.

BATHROOMS
An “All are welcome” sign painted on the bathroom door was a nice touch.

SERVICE
Ask the staff any number of questions about natural vs. organic wines, or what exactly a “pet nat” is, and they’ll be able to answer. But they surprised the heck out of us by also being so well-trained and graceful in their service style. We left a bit above 20% to show our gratitude.

WOULD RECOMMEND
100%. Can’t wait to get back there to meet up with friends, visitors from out of town, or for a date, where the come-for-a-bite-or-full-dinner ethos really plays well.   

WHO
Some restaurants become beloved because the team behind them modestly lets the product speak for itself. Such is the case at LaLou, a neighborhood gem opened by Ilyssa Satter, Ashley Rath, Dave Foss and Joe Campanale (Fausto, L’Artusi, Dell’anima). Campanale has a reputation for quietly creating one neighborhood favorite after another. With LaLou, an organic wine bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, he’s done it again. This time, his partners Dave Foss (Anfora), and Ilyssa Satter wisely picked chef Ashley Rath. Rath is a quiet superstar in her own right, having received glowing reviews as chef of The Grill, and with a pedigree that includes Gramercy Tavern and Atera, among others.

FOOD
While LaLou partners call it a wine bar, the powerhouse chef certainly cooks like she’s shooting for the stars. The food blew us away, with menu options tight and straightforward. Everything is delicious, well-executed and thoughtfully designed to pair well with the wines.
Fried olives ($8) may be the best warm olive plate in NYC, with a generous heap of Castelvetrano olives rolled in a light gluten-free flour and sitting on a bed of garlic dip.
Cobia tartare with pickled veg was brightly acidic and well-seasoned, with crispy chips on top for crunch ($15).
I didn’t want to share the Bibb lettuce salad with radish, herbs and feta buttermilk dressing ($12).
Spaghetti with chickpea and black pepper was so perplexingly good, the creamy, flavorful chickpea had me thinking it was a squash purée ($18).
But the Roast Chicken for 2 ($44) is the real standout. Brined for 72 hours, the meat is supple and delicious and served with garlic aioli. We have no qualms about saying that this might be the city’s best chicken dish.
The desserts of Eton Mess with fresh strawberries ($11) or Beignets with lavender and honey ($9) are nice, but the plate of Mistoa cheese and plums ($9) was our favorite.

DRINKS
Every wine on this well-curated list is organic. Ask the somm for guidance and you’ll be able to easily find a wine that allows you to dip a toe in the natural wine waters, or dive right into something super funky and biodynamic. Unclear what the difference is between all these categories? The very knowledgeable managers can cheerfully explain without it feeling pedantic. Spain, Italy, France, Georgia, and Austria are all represented, while some American options appear too. Glasses start at $11. There is also a small selection of cocktails.

DECOR
The space is perfectly nice inside – a palette of pale grays and whites with a J-shaped concrete bar and plywood booths in a semi-finished, spartan design provide an inoffensive backdrop that allows the focus to be on the food and wine. Whitewashed peg board and walls, blonde wood tables and heavy white lanterns make for an industrial chic setting.

NOISE
Jay-Z and Pharrell on the soundtrack kept the energy high that evening. Some patrons got a bit boisterously loud, but for the most part, the more adult clientele kept things at a decent decibel.

SEATING
Square, woven rush bar stools for 15 and room for 35 more on plywood banquette seating lining the wall across from the open kitchen. An additional 20 seats in the backyard garden will open soon for brunch. As of when this was written, only drinks were being served there.

VIBE
Industry people, neighborhood patrons mostly wearing obscure designers or vintage tees and ripped jeans mingled with young parents on date night and lovers of natural wine.

BATHROOMS
An “All are welcome” sign painted on the bathroom door was a nice touch.

SERVICE
Ask the staff any number of questions about natural vs. organic wines, or what exactly a “pet nat” is, and they’ll be able to answer. But they surprised the heck out of us by also being so well-trained and graceful in their service style. We left a bit above 20% to show our gratitude.

WOULD RECOMMEND
100%. Can’t wait to get back there to meet up with friends, visitors from out of town, or for a date, where the come-for-a-bite-or-full-dinner ethos really plays well.   

CHEF

Ashley Rath

OPENING HOURS

Closed Mondays

RESERVATIONS

Limited reservations are available on Resy up to a month in advance; the partners reserve two-thirds of the tables for walk-ins to cultivate local regulars. Reserve a few days in advance during the week, and a week in advance for prime weekend slots. 

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