Fun, colorful Lula Brazil in Rehoboth is not a Fogo de Chão steakhouse experience, where gaucho servers bear skewers with all manner of barbecued meat. Owner Meg Hudson focuses instead on Brazilian-inspired coastal cuisine. “I wanted to show a part of the culture that is not that familiar,” she says. By 7 p.m. on a recent Saturday, the place was rockin’ with guests filling the 110 inside seats, including well-known Baltimore chef and cookbook author John Shields of Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He sat at the table next to us, savoring the Brazilian seafood stew, just like we were. It’s a luscious, fragrant bowl swimming with fish, shrimp, mussels and calamari in a broth reminiscent of the tropics with its coconut milk, pam oil, mixed peppers and onions over soft rice.
The grilled calamari over arugula and lemon vinaigrette is huge enough to share. We dug happily into the tender squid with sweet undertones. There is a kids menu for picky eaters, making Lula Brazil a great family place. The kitchen doesn’t shortchange the younger set either. The chicken tenders were thick, juicy hunks that came with a piquant honey-mustard dipping sauce and shoestring fries. There’s also penne with marinara sauce and a burger. Did we mention the Caipirinhas? Brazil’s most popular drink comes in several flavors. There are many more reasons to love Lula Brazil. See dining critic Suzanne Loudermilk’s review in the July issue of DT. 212-2755, www.lulabrazil.com