Restaurant LuLu

A chic, seasonal restaurant at the base of Mammoth.
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A chic, seasonal restaurant at the base of Mammoth.

If a great restaurant can make a village, then Mammoth Mountain's new base enclave is ready for its debut. Restaurant LuLu, an offshoot of the top-rated San Francisco eatery of the same name, opened this season at the base of the Southern California resort. And it shares in its namesake's successful philosophy—that employing the flavors of seasonal ingredients makes for excellent dishes.

Mammoth's LuLu brings some much-needed chic to the resort's fledgling dining scene—stainless steel columns glint like sun on snow, and slate floors evoke the area's rocky terrain. Proving that the Provençal-inspired cuisine takes top billing, the exhibition kitchen gets diners' attention with aromas of roasting fowl, stone-fired pizzas and simmering bouillabaisse. Be warned: Portions are huge and designed for family-style sharing. Start off with skillet-roasted mussels or frito misto, a medley of artichoke and fennel. The nightly special from the rotisserie might be crackling-crisp duck with grilled persimmons or Angus prime rib with porcini butter.Not to be outdone, a stellar wine list features 500 labels. Try the tasting flights (four two-ounce glasses of wine for $10.50—$18), which include unusual grapes such as Picpoul, a rare French vine, plus renowned appellations such as Chà¢teauneuf-du-Pape. For dessert, order profiteroles with hot-fudge sauce and ice cream—just remember to bring a mammoth appetite.

1111 Forest Trail, unit 201; 760-924-8781