With travel back and forth between Dallas and Austin, it has been over a month since I've been there, which is absolutely too long, as I'm typically there one to two nights a week. I figured it was a great night to be in a Chicago bar given the lineup of the Bulls-Pacers playoff game five, and the seventh game of the Blackhawks-Canucks series, and I was right, and also was fortunate enough to leave before the end of the Blackhawks game, and subsequent end to their season in overtime.
When I got there I saw something that really excited me, the chalkboard specials. For the first time in all the time that I've been frequenting Louie's, he had lamb on the menu. Shocking to me that this was the first time given the family's rich Greek history (just ask Louie, and he's happy to go into his family's lineage back to the 300 Spartans who defeated the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae), and so as a lover of all things lamb, I was as ecstatic as the woman on the men's room wall.
Alright, I'm going to get sidetracked here. I hate this lady. She's relatively new and was drawn over perhaps the greatest men's room graffiti I've ever seen and my all-time favorite. "Does Fecal Matter". Sad day indeed when some bonehead decided to get rid of that for the large and completely out of place peeper that is now there. That said, Louie's still features some of the best graffiti in this part of the country, including among others:
"Go home Dad, you're drunk."
"Fat kids are harder to kidnap."
"Jesus Saves, Gretzky Scores"
"REMINDER THE ALAMO!"
and "34 will always be better than 22. Go Bears!"
OK, sorry. Back to the food. I started with my standard olive and juniper berry appetizer
and from there moved on to a Caesar salad before getting to the main meal. I've learned over the years to take advantage of the specials when he's got them, particularly any fish or meat that is grilled. Clearly it was time for me to try the lamb, which I ordered with a side of his poblano mashed potatoes.
Wow. Were these things ever incredible. They have the same fantastic char flavoring that his well seasoned grill cranks out on a daily basis, resulting in a caramelized and nearly crispy, without any chewiness, exterior which seals in all of the natural juices of the meat, which, with help from the bone, keep the meat inside incredibly juicy and flavorful when cooked to the recommended medium rare. Topped off with a buttery glaze, these four chops imparted their flavoring to the starchy next door neighbor and made for a really, really great meal.
MLWMG opted for one of her rotating staples, the grilled pork chop, with a side of broccoli.
I'm assuming he brines his pork chops overnight, because as usual they came out perfectly, and incredibly moist despite being fully cooked. And I'm not a huge broccoli fan, but the way they do theirs is simple and fantastic. Steamed to perfection and drizzled with a little butter, it's not as healthy as it could be, but the flavor and texture could not be better.
And last, Miss X. She ordered incorrectly, asking for the chicken meaning the chicken breast, but instead got the half chicken with a side of homemade chipotle sauce, which may change her mind on future orders. Also likely brined, the chicken comes out as a whole half chicken, with all of that flavor and juice trapped inside a perfectly edible and flavorful skin. Like the lamb, it's a win win with that oozing out on to the potatoes with the first cut.
I can't say enough about this place, other than it would be my last meal if I had to choose it, it's the best bar to go to in Dallas, and whenever I'm back in Dallas it will be a mandatory stop on my schedule. Hell, I may even make a trip to Dallas just to hit it and stock up on supplies at Jimmy's Food Store, Dallas's finest and best Italian grocery store.
Atmosphere: hole in the wall, Chicago style tavern, good place to watch the game, good place to belly up, good place for a date, good place for a group, good place to meet people, good place to meet new people, good place for a drink
Food: pizza, Italian, Greek, American
Dog Friendly: no
When to Go: dinner
Crowd: regulars, journalists, families, angry old guys, Cubs fans, 20somethngs, 30somethings, groups of dudes, groups of girls, mixed groups, no douchers or tight shirts allowed, hotchicks, me
What to Order for the First Timer: I'll be very specific here. Start with a large Greek or Caesar for the table, as well as sauteed oysters and a large sauteed onion, jalapeno, and sausage pizza, then make sure someone gets the pork chop, another the spaghetti with oil and garlic, and another the fettucini alfredo. Report back to me about just how good it all is.