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Amelia Islander

Lulu's at the Thompson House

Nov 09, 2015 11:07AM
A little over five years ago, Brian and Melanie Grimley came to Fernandina Beach, bringing with them their love for food inspired by their Cajun and Creole roots. Lulu’s at The Thompson House has become an Amelia Island favorite, serving only the choicest meats and seafood, freshest vegetables, and homemade desserts. I met my friend Sherry at Lulu’s for dinner recently, where Chef Brian created a magical and memorable feast for the two of us. Our server Beau started us out with a glass of 2013 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc, a delightful clean, bright, and refreshing white much like a Sancerre, produced in the Loire Valley. Then Chef Brian brought out a cheese plate, a selection of artisan cheeses served with pickles, chutneys, and toasted ciabbata. This is a remarkable dish and perfect for sharing with a friend. The cheese consisted of Flat Creek Chipotle Cheddar from Swainsboro, Georgia, a rosemary-rubbed Asiago, an Irish stout cheddar, and Derby sage cheddar. All the cheeses were top-notch, each with their own special quality. The condiments brought this cheese platter to new heights, however, each one created by Chef Brian. There was Creole mustard (his secret recipe), green tomato chutney, fruit chutney, and a lovely tomato jam that was sweet and acidic. A pickled cipollini, which is a tiny sweet onion, and a handful of Marcona almonds rounded out the dish. Sherry and I didn’t want our first course to end! But it’s easy to move on to an entrée like “Twisted in the South,” Lulu’s newest twist on the traditional Southern shrimp and grits. Sherry and I were eager to try this dish, a lighter version of the creamy and calorie-laden original. Chef Brian exchanged the grits for polenta cakes, which were fantastic, and for the shrimp, he created a sauce made with local shrimp, roasted tomatoes, Bermuda onion petals, Andouille sausage, extra virgin olive oil, and arugula. What an amazing dish! It was savory and rich, but light at the same time. Sherry and I would have fought over this dish, but luckily we had another delicious entrée: Seared Salmon Encrusted with Dijon Mustard, Sage, Parsley, and Rosemary. I love the way Chef Brian treats the salmon. He sears it and then poaches it, so it’s incredibly tender and moist, but still maintains that herby crust. The salmon was served with roasted fingerling potatoes and artisan greens dressed with warm champagne tarragon vinaigrette. Spectacular! We also enjoyed a glass of Willamette whole cluster Pinot Noir from Oregon, created with 90 percent whole cluster Pinot grapes. The wine was ruby red, soft, and perfect with both entrees. Sherry and I always have room for dessert, and Chef Brian treated us to his Peach Cobbler, which was sweet, syrupy, and buttery, served warm with vanilla ice cream. And a surprise treat from Brian, a glass of Peter Lehman Botrytis Semillon from Australia, an excellent chilled dessert wine. Perfect! Lulu’s at The Thompson House is open on Sundays for brunch, and Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. They are located at 11 South 7th Street. For more information or to make a reservation, call (904) 432-8394.