There’s a lot to like about Louie’s of Mar Vista. The lone waitress on a weekend morning navigates the room with a Southern charm that’s startling, if only for its authenticity in a city of wannabe actors “performing” for tips. There’s a beehive on the building’s roof that, rather than be destroyed, now supplies honey for the kitchen and bar. On Sundays a farmers market sets up right outside of Louie’s and often provides the produce and local ingredients for the restaurant. Then there’s the food, a modern take on classic Americana cooking courtesy of Chefs Jim Harris (North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach) and John Atkinson highlight by dishes like the Kahlua Pig Monte Cristo Egg Roll or Togarashi Bacon Fries. Add to that plenty of beer options, bottled and on tap, and you have all the makings of a neighborhood spot, something this area had been lacking.
Togarashi Bacon Fries [$7] | Bacon powder, togarashi salt & pimento cheese sauce
These were almost poutine-esque with the tasty pimento cheese sauce that just oozed all over the light and crispy fries. The bacon powder was rather subtle, perhaps a good thing considering the artery-clogging nature of the plate, but anytime I read bacon I expect to taste it in full force. Togarashi, a Japanese spice blend, delivered a touch of salty-heat that delivered some extra depth and lingered on the tongue.
American Standard Cheeseburger [$14] | panko fried house made American cheese, smoked tomato remoulade, lettuce & pickle
Clearly, the deep fried American cheese, made in-house of course, was the major draw here. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver and resulted in a burger that, like its name, was standard. I expected the cheese to arrive crunchy-coated and concealing hot, gooey cheese just waiting to leak out on all sides. Instead, it had solidified, and though the taste was there the texture was underwhelming. The burger’s other components, from the shredded lettuce and pickles (served on the side) to the non-descript patty and “secret sauce” reminded me of a restaurant version of a Big Mac. Not exactly the worst thing, but at $14 lets just say I wasn’t too thrilled.
Despite the disappointing nature of the cheeseburger, I’m eager to give Louie’s another try because I like what they represent for the neighborhood, and a burger alone shouldn’t make-or-break a place with such an interesting variety of menu items. Louie’s is by no means a destination restaurant, but if you happen to be nearby you could could do a lot worse for a beer and a bite.
Louie’s of Mar Vista
3817 Grand View Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Dine date: Sun 3.2.14, 12:00p