Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Taste test: Skip over to Lou

Variety's Dana Harris and Deb Vankin quaffing at Lou
As a rough rule, many of L.A.'s most interesting restaurants are in mini-malls, and Lou: A Wine Bar is no exception. Proprietor Lou Amdur, who worked in software before launching his longtime wine bar project, has chosen a really interesting selection of well-priced wines. It's a nice touch that they're available in small 2 oz. tastes as well as regular-sized glasses and very reasonably-priced bottles. You could while away several hours here nibbling on some of the best olives ever, spicy-sweet almonds, pig candy, cheese and salami plates and more.

duck, mushroom and cannellini bean crostini plate

Dana loved her classic frisee salad with a perfectly poached egg, and Deb and I especially liked the mushroom/truffle crostini and of course, the pig candy.

pig candy! (sweet and spicy glazed bacon)
There's also a few more hearty dishes like a braised pork shoulder, so you could make a whole meal there, and a few desserts. Lou says he'll soon be adding a root beer float made with Abita root beer and hosting Sunday night family-style dinners -- very cool. I tried a California Praxis Pinot Noir, really nice, but more French-style, not as fruity as California ones usually are; and a more subdued French syrah/grenache blend -- the Mas Neuf Tradition.
Verdict: A great place for a glass of wine and a snack before a movie or a evening's conversation with friends and lots of small plates. Oh, and good music, too, not too loud, and cool Jonathan Adler-on-Prozac decor.
724 N Vine St.
(323) 962-6369


david said...

thanks for the heads up and the great blog!!!!

i really enjoy reading your blog.

that pig candy sounds delciious!!!

christianne said...

I went to dinner at Lou last night based on this post and had a great time. The pig candy is delicious! Thanks for recommending it!

The Dabbler said...

I live nearby so was excited to try Lou. Went last night and found service to be so so and the food a little salty (but a nice selection that could be delicious sans over-seasoning). Also, out of the four wines we tried, 3 were not quite ready for drinking, too young or needed to breath. I would definitely go back and chalk up the first night to kinks typical of a new establishment. I really am hoping that this is a place I will want to become a regular.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments from "The Dabbler", the same person who's blog asserted that Lou's "palate could use some refinement or he might consider hiring a sommelier" (he's a certified Master of Wine), and who's hoping the place will be filled with "loads of film intellectuals and other people-watching-worthy Hollywood types". Hmm.

Anonymous said...

We took 6 people here on Friday for a birthday celebration and it was perfect! Service was A++ and our only complaint was that the time went by so quickly.

Will DEFINITELY go back!

Anonymous said...

LOU is a definite thumbs down for me. The space is claustrophobic (what's up with those curtains? - they remind of Mrs. Roper's mumus), the service was snotty and clueless, and the patrons are pretentious.

I miss the Thai restaurant that previously inhabited that spot - they had the best ribs.

If you want three better wine bar recommendations, here: BODEGA (al fresco, hip) on Colorado in the Pasadena; VINOTECA FARFALLA on Virgil in Los Feliz (the wait staff was helpful and friendly); and BODEGA DE CORDOVA on Fairfax south of the Farmer's Market (great neighborhood place).

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patrick said...

We tried Lou the other night and were very impressed. The pig candy is, indeed, amazing. As were the antelope, scallops and wild boar sausage.