We’re proud of our student-run campus newspaper, The Observer, and all they’ve been doing recently to make it a very quality publication. Here’s an example of some of the new articles they’ll be running – local restaurant reviews. Consider it your sneak peek of what’s to come!
Dungeon Dining at Salem’s Red LuLu Restaurant
By Kayla Carignan
Stepping off the streets of downtown Salem, I walked into what looked like a hidden, underground gem in the heart of Boston. With incredibly dim lighting, small candles and chain-hung chandelier fixtures used as the main source of light, the place felt as though I was in a dungeon—but a dungeon one would want to be in. Rusty, gray graveyard–looking fences sectioned off the bar, lounge and restaurant areas, while a red velvet, Victorian pattern scaled along the walls.
I think it is safe to say that I have never felt more spoiled in a restaurant. In such a casual, welcoming environment, I was treated as if I were royalty. “Sexy gothic” was how the charming, conversational waitress described the theme of the Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar—and she could not have been more on target.
Red Lulu is a branch off of Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar in Boston, which became a hit in the city only months after its opening. Co-owner Josh Jamison said, “Lulu definitely has a different feel than other places on the North Shore. Lolita has more of a cave feel, but the food and drink menus are all exactly the same.”
Brother Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta complete the ownership trio, while also sharing ownership of Lolita with Stephanie Jamison.
Do not mistake this place as your average Mexican restaurant. The Red Lulu puts its own creative spins on classic Mexican cuisine, while always keeping the customer guessing with unexpected surprises.
In a blur of complimentary food filling up the empty space on the table, I was not ready to focus on the main course options until I first cleansed my palate on the savory grapefruit mist and ate, at least, half the basket of salty tortilla chips, accompanied with four different options of dipping salsa: sweet, smoky, classic, and the mango jalapeno which burned my nostrils as soon as I removed the cap.
The month-shy 21-year-old in me was drooling over the drink menu. With over 180 different kinds of tequila you will not find anywhere else on the North Shore, the drink options surpassed the size of the dinner menu. Although the majority of the Endicott population has more than enough college expenses (and do not have big enough pockets to splurge on a $425 shot or a $100 margarita,) the never ending drink options have the ability to suit almost any budget.
However, the dinner menu should not be sold short, for at Lulu, the food is all about quality.
Head Chef Brian Roche oversees both Red Lulu and Lolita, and has made every dish more savory than the next.
After much contemplation, I ordered the garlic lime chicken, perhaps the juiciest marinated chicken on a bed of corn and red onion salsa with a side of matchstick potatoes, which seemed to be a fun, classy interpretation of potato shoestrings. My friend, on the other hand, ordered the salmon coco (grilled, coconut-lime flavor), which she seemed to devour in a matter of minutes. Although it was Friday night and the place was piling with people, our plates came out in a very timely manner.
But the meal did not stop there. After I was sure of a full stomach, the dessert menu was offered. I decided to take a peek. Being that I am a coconut enthusiast, I could have sworn they had made a menu just for me. With each dish sounding as sweet and decadent as the last, I had to try at least one.
I settled on the coconut-fried ice cream with a side of hot fudge to dip or drizzle. Once I conquered as much of the plate as I could, the check came with, yes—more food. While the waitress set down the small tray, with the check and two temporary tattoos (that’s right, tattoos), my eyes could not help but draw towards what she held in her other hand. Sour apple cotton candy with cherry pop rocks sprinkled on top must have been just shy of a foot.
The creation was placed in the center of the table to pick at and enjoy, as if my stomach did not have enough in it already.
Dining at Red Lulu was a different experience, and I would definitely suggest it for a night out. There is no denying Endicott students love the regular Beverly hang outs, but if you are looking for something different with good food and an exciting atmosphere without the cost of a train ticket to Boston, this is the place to be.
Red Lulu is open daily from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and serves the full menu until midnight. It is located at 94 Lafayette St. in Salem. Call (978) 594-4282 for more information. You can also make reservations online through their website, redlulusalem.com.