Pizza dough ($6)
Grilled pizza dough is thinner than your average pizza, but it's tasty and pliant with a good amount of char and a lot of olive oil. The intensely creamy ricotta is some of the better housemade cheese I've had recently, and the pesto, a brightly flavored counterpart. Pretty much the bread course of my dreams.
I could make a meal of these anchovies alone, an overflowing bowl of crisply fried little fish, lightly floured in corn flour, cornstarch, and cayenne pepper, with a sriracha tartar sauce that doesn't actually taste like sriracha, just incorporates a gentle heat.
Kale, brussels sprout, sunchoke slaw ($9)
Thin ribbons of kale, delicate brussels sprout petals, and shaved sunchokes, all crunchy and distinctly flavored in a rich dressing with mustard, egg, and a faint hint of ginger.
Bone marrow tacos ($13)
This is a chef who loves his animals, as his bone marrow tacos testify. The charred corn tortillas simply serve as an alternate breadlike delivery system, rather than thin slivers of baguette, and it works. Parsley, cilantro, capers, and pickled onions provide much-needed herbal and acidic relief to cut through all that richness.
Unlike many restaurants these days that put a burger on the menu out of seeming obligation, whether or not it seems to connect with the rest of their menu, Lulu & Po scores three points in its favor, making 1) a great burger that's 2) only $12 and 3) is perfectly in line with the rest of their dishes: essentially straightforward, enjoyable fare with a slight edge of improvement and refinement. Hamilton uses a DeBragga beef blend, formed into two slim patties given a great crust on the grill but kept an honest medium-rare. They meet with intensely creamy, slightly softening goat cheese, house-made zucchini pickles, and gorgeously cooked-down onions, on a bun perfectly suited to the package, a sesame-seeded Martin's Potato Roll.
'Iron' pressed Upstate NY firehouse chicken ($18)
A must-order. "Chef Hamilton grew up upstate," our waitress explained to us, "and the local firehouse would have a chicken sale to raise money, chicken in this secret marinade." That's the inspiration for this slightly spicy chicken, which bathes for 14 hours in a sugar-based marinade of paprika, Italian parsley, garlic, black pepper, distilled vinegar, and canola and extra virgin olive oils. The chicken? It's pan-seared and pressed with an actual cast-iron iron to weigh it down. It's a simply perfect half-bird, given a superior crust and superbly moist throughout. Roasted sunchokes are all the accompaniment it needs.