Sometimes you just get in the mood for a certain food, right? Like a good juicy burger, or the just right kind of sauce pizza, or some really amazing chips and salsa. For me on this particular evening, the craving was wings. Jumbo, dry rub, hot out of the oven, chicken wings.
Lucky for me we ended up a lot a place that served … well, as it turns out, no chicken wings whatsoever. Ouch. Better luck next time for me, it seems. You win some, you lose some in this group, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now.
In all fairness, we did believe that Louie’s had wings. I mean, it has been about seven (??) years since our one and only visit, and during that span the place did shutter for a while but then reopen under the same name but new ownership. We remembered they were known for their burgers in the past – and, I mean, what usually goes hand in hand with burgers as the two staples of this group’s weekly choices?
Well if you’re the new owners of Louie’s, you would answer that question with “Chinese food.” I mean, obviously.
So, yeah, it turns out that Louie’s is now a bar, grill, and place to get things like “Momo” – which I will fully disclose that I had never even heard of prior to opening the menu on this lovely Wednesday evening.
Spoiler alert: Momo is NOT Chinese for chicken wings. So already I’m disappointed.
Tonight’s winner in the food lottery at that moment became our dear Ted, who was pretty excited to see this entree on the menu. Apparently he’s even had it before. And knew enough about it to order his pork Momo at a “level three” when our server asked how spicy it should be.
Of course I had to dare to ask what the top level was. I was kind of being sarcastic (what, me? No!) but the looks I got from both Ted and the server schooled me in the notion that sarcasm has no place in the Momo spiciness scale. For shame.
For the record, it’s five. And that seems to be reserved for daredevils who enjoy devouring lit matches in their free time. Noted.
For anyone wondering – and like me are not as schooled in culinary delicacies whose names sound more similar to a pet name one might choose for their grandmother – this is Momo.
Are we sure these aren’t pot stickers? They look like pot stickers.
Well whatever they look like, Ted thought they were delicious. If we were still doing our photos with thumbs up/down, he would definitely have a thumbs up reserved for this dish.
But that’s about where the compliments end, unfortunately.
So with the absence of wings, we all decided to order what we remember the old Louie’s being known for: burgers. I mean, this table ad can’t lie, right?
Let’s start with the options. Every single burger on the menu had an asterisk next to it that indicated it was a “house specialty.” Every one, that is, except the double cheeseburger. Hmmm. So much for inclusion. Sorry about your luck, double meat patties with cheese. You’re not getting picked for this team.
I ordered the mushroom burger. Which was indicated to be a house specialty, but honestly what’s so special about mushrooms and cheese on a burger? I have probably ordered this same burger in no less than 25 other restaurants over the years, and this house didn’t seem to be serving anything special, let’s just say that much.
For an extra dose of fun, I tried to order onion rings as a side … only to be told they were all out. Good thing I wasn’t in the mood for those or anything. My food luck has hit rock bottom it seems.
But this also created an issue for Ted, in that the burger he wanted to order was so intriguing to him due to it having “gourmet” onions rings as a topper. And if they were out of onion rings … well … how does that affect that burger?
Just as I was about to celebrate Ted’s food luck taking a ride down the water slide to hell along with mine … the server assured him that all was well – they had THOSE onion rings. Just not the regular ones for the side order.
Well OK then. That makes about as much sense as serving Chinese food alongside burgers and fries. I guess this alternate universe is just where we live now. Cool.
Side note: I’m still extremely curious what makes them different. And I guess I always will be.
In a move that probably made Ted throw up in his mouth just a tad, Shane got the burger topped with blue cheese, along with an appetizer of fried cheese cubes. And in a move that surprises no one, Ted vehemently declined Shane’s offer to share.
The cheese cubes actually had a little starburst on the menu next to them saying “mmmmm good.” Marketing wizardry right there, folks.
So, yeah, other than Ted’s Momo … we just weren’t overly impressed with any of the food. The burgers were all just OK. The house specials … well, aren’t so special, it turns out. There was nothing about the flavors or condiments on any of them that made them stand out from any of the other burgers we’ve enjoyed over the years. And not once was a Top (insert whatever number he may be seeing sr the moment) list ever even discussed by Shane, so you know he was not impressed.
But beyond that, what really killed us on any thought of a need for a return visit was the service. Let’s be honest here, Louie’s is a small place. Despite the mirrors on the wall above the booths that played Alice in Wonderland-esque tricks on us for the entirety of our visit – you’ll never find the door to that magical room full of doppelgängers, just FYI – I can probably count the number of tables in the place on both of my hands and still have fingers left over.
Which means the kitchen is probably about the size of my linen closet, so it’s no surprise things back up quickly in that area. I’m not sure how many people were working back there, but they maybe should’ve spared at least one to help the one server/bartender out on the floor trying to take care of drinks, food orders, refills, checks and take out order payments. Our server was running like crazy and we were definitely not the only table feeling ignored or waiting way beyond the normal time to get our checks.
Another suggestion: most bars have music of some kind. Or TVs. Or really anything that creates some sort of ambient noise … because there were times it seemed you could hear a pin drop in there. Or, maybe you could if not for this rowdy table of three people sitting in the middle of the space that kept having inappropriate conversations in the quietest of moments. Consider this our apology, family with small children who unfortunately sat in a booth near us.
The one thing that may make us return to Louie’s? Morbid curiosity about the – um – interesting office supplies being stored in the awkwardly arranged men’s restroom. I don’t want to give away the details. You’ll just have to go see for yourself if you want to understand what I’m talking about. But trust us.
To quote Ted on our drive home: “We’ve seen a lot of interesting things in our years of doing this, haven’t we?”