Lulu Kitchen and Bar: Love at First Bite
Photo Credit: Doug Young
You will fall in love at first bite when you dig your fork into the freshly prepared fish and other flame-grilled specialties at Lulu Kitchen and Bar in Sag Harbor. Chef Corbet, who joined the Montauk Asset Holdings team in 2016, launched Lulu Kitchen and Bar, which is now in its very successful third season, with a menu built around a custom wood-fired grill. The Hamptons might be known as a summer spot, but Lulu serves up lunch and dinner seven days a week, year-round, so you don't have to long for Lulu's delectable dishes once the season comes to an end!
With summer in full swing, Chef Corbet explains, "Everything is flourishing this season, the fruits and the vegetables, so it's very exciting, and we simplified the menu. It's so busy around here now, so we're going to be bringing out more specials and more seafood. We're having fun with the menu and trying to be authentic with what our surroundings are here. I've been on Long Island for 18 years, and I've really seen the Hamptons grow. There are more farms, the products are great and the prices are getting better."
Corbet, a culinary genius who has created a menu full of fresh and local products, trained in France, including in Michelin-star-rated restaurants, before bringing his creative concepts to Long Island's most sophisticated spots. After joining Montauk Asset Holdings, he opened up the kitchen at Arbor in Montauk, and now he serves his loyal clientele at Lulu Kitchen and Bar with his wood-burning cuisine as well as at Duryea's Lobster Deck in Montauk.
Photo Credit: Eric Striffler
"I started cooking in France in 1994, went to school for four years and worked in numerous Michelin-star-rated restaurants. When I came to America, I fell in love with the Hamptons, and then I wanted to experience the New York City vibe. As a chef, I think this location is very important; it's the capital of the culinary world, there are so many different cooking styles and the city is just incredible. I did a year at Bouley and then came back to Long Island and got lucky. I met Steven Jauffrineau, the managing director of the group. I worked with him, and at the end of that summer, he offered me the position. I said I wanted a wood-fire grill, which I think is very special. It's very flavorful but very raw and intense, and combined with the vegetables and seafood we have around here, the grill in the summer is the best. We are starting to have farms with meat and ducks, so it's even better. We're now in our third season, and they wanted to keep me around and offered me a partnership I couldn't refuse; it was perfect for me."
Summer might be great grilling season, but Lulu Kitchen and Bar is just as delightful in the dreary winter months. "When we first opened the doors here, we felt that it was a very happy place. It feels like we've been open for 20 years; it has all the feelings of comfort, especially with the wood-fire grill. My favorite time to be in the restaurant is in the winter. I love the smell of the fireplace and the cozy flame."
This inventive chef, who loves playing with flavors, earning him a large fanbase, continually travels in search of tasty delicacies, and he even went to Israel last winter in order to get a better idea of what he wanted to do with his team. During the trip, Chef Corbet realized that "simplicity is key, especially in the summer here. We had a tomato salad with a little vinegar, and the product was so shiny and just wonderful, it was hard to explain. There was nothing that needed to be done to make it better. In winter, it's harder to get local produce, but in July and August, we really have beautiful produce here and work with local vendors and farms. We re-visited the menu just last week and now have lamb, simply marinated and grilled, with a fresh cucumber salad and a lot of fresh herbs. I'm also using fresh trout from Upstate New York, and it's really delicious. I just brought leeks to the menu as well, served steamed and grilled on the wood oven with an almond vinaigrette and finished with olive oil. It's all very simple and healthy, but all the flavors are there."
He might hail from the French Alps on the border of Switzerland and Italy, but Chef Corbet has made the Hamptons his home and pays homage to his family's foodie history. While he has fulfilled his dream of creating classic and inspired dishes, Corbet didn't always fantasize about being in the food business.
"My father was a health inspector and my grandfather had a two-star Michelin restaurant, so I grew up around food, and the last thing I wanted to be was a chef because I realized that type of life was hard. I hardly got to see my grandfather on vacation or even at Christmas, but then I got the chance to start cooking and I understood everything after that. I worked with a Michelin-star chef and something clicked; I enjoyed it right away. I had very good mentors and they showed me that it's demanding and hard work, but if you're passionate about cooking, you have to do it, and it brought me here. When I came to the US, I was 24 and couldn't speak English, and one of my friends, a chef, told me to come with him, and I moved here. I never thought I would be working here in America and growing this fast. It was a journey, but it was a fun journey. It's a hard life but if you love it, it's a wonderful life."
Photo Credit: Eric Striffler
It might be a lot of work, but Corbet and his kitchen team, which triples in size in the summer, are full of passion, which translates to very palatable plates. If you are lucky enough to get a table at Lulu in the summer, you can experience some of their creative cocktails and diverse dishes, ranging from Grilled Spanish Octopus – one of Chef Corbet's favorites – to Shakshuka, succulent steaks, vegetable platters, fresh fish, pizza, pasta and many more mouthwatering creations. He might be savoring his sweet success – and rightfully so – but Chef Corbet has stayed humble and listens to his customers as well as the critics.
"The food scene is always changing, and I'm still learning every day. I've been cooking for 25 years, and making time to listen makes me better. Just the other day in fact, a young chef showed me a new way to cook things. When I opened my first restaurant on Long Island, I was 28 years old, and I listened to my customers so I got busier. I was friendly with my customers, and I would go to the bar and ask locals what they wanted to eat. I changed the menu, but I was still proud of what I was doing. You might be cooking for passion, but the person is still paying the bill!"
When you dine at Lulu Kitchen and Bar, you get both dinner and a show – after all, with their open kitchen located right in the middle of the restaurant, guests can munch while watching the magic happen! Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner or a lively party, Lulu Kitchen and Bar offers an intimate private dining room, so you can host the perfect celebration, family feast or soiree this season. Your summer just got a lot sweeter!
Dine at their other location, Duryeas in Montauk, where you can dig into Duryea's Royal Tower featuring lobster, king crab, pearl oysters, snow crab claws, jumbo shrimp, little neck clams and tuna tartare, as well as their other tantalizing seafood towers. They even have a seafood market and farmer's market, so you can pick up fresh products, and even a lobster to-go!
126 Main St.
Sag Harbor, NY 11963