Smith Street Dining
by Julie Besonen, 10/22/2013
Photo: Will Steacy
214 Smith St., 718-625-3815, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Café Luluc has the convivial air of a retro French bistro with racks of free reading material. It's fine to linger and nurse your coffee as long as you want. Tables are closely spaced, affording plenty of opportunity to eavesdrop on conversations (a recent sampling included customers comparing auditions, rent hikes and therapists). This longtime neighborhood favorite is particularly packed at brunch when the most beloved dish is fluffy, glorious pancakes. Abundant salads and sandwiches predominate at lunch; at dinner are good pastas and steak frites. The menu is actually more Mediterranean than strictly French, the prices low enough that its cash-only policy isn't aggrieving. On nice days ask for a table in the tranquil back garden and bask in the gentle sunlight filtering through the branches of a massive oak tree.