Monday, October 7, 2013

Bar Louie [3.5/5]

Bar Louie

I had heard murmurings about Bar Louie, whose Bridge Street location was the most recent outcropping of a small chain. So when the hubby and I found ourselves at Bridge Street looking for a late dinner, we popped in. It looked promising, with the patio filled with a mix of standard high top tables and larger tables where a sheet of fire trapped between glass made an alluring center piece. The large roll up door was open to the patio creating a seamless environment between the patio and the bar.

We opted to sit on the patio and settled into our chairs taking in the warm evening and looking forward to our late dinner. The patio speakers poured out music, contradicting the laid back selections with the too loud to talk over volume.

Now the thing to be aware of, before you head into Bar Louie, is that it's one of those fine establishments whose business models involves young female wait staff in tank tops and short shorts. Where the service comes with a heaping helping of fawning and being called "darling".

I have no particular disagreement with tank tops and short shorts, but it was rather eye roll worthy to watch the server fawning over a gentleman's tattoos the next table over. It moved closer to annoying when our server was alternatingly missing and mistaken. We sat for ages before anyone came by to take our drink orders. Which seemed like a cardinal sin in a bar. Finally, as we were debating whether to walk out and leave, a manager noticed us.

Then it became a comedy of errors. Multiple people attempted to take our drink orders, and promised to take our food orders. Again it was a long, stuttering wait before we finally placed our orders. A grilled veggie wrap for me, hold the queso fresco. A taco platter for the hubby. They were gone again before we realized that our server hadn't asked us to make the required menu selections--my meal had a choice of tater tots or fries. My husband's tacos were available in both fish and chicken.

Given the long wait to even put in an order, we shrugged it off. And settled in for another long wait. During this one, the manager kept stopping by asking if we needed anything. When we were fine, we were reassured that we were "like the best table ever" before she bounced off.

The disorganized service gave us plenty of time to observe the other patrons. The open patio was smoke friendly which wasn't an issue at first. However, as the night went on, the wind shifted and we ended up with faces full of smoke. This was when I realized just how unfun the roll up door could be...when the bar gets busy even polite outdoor smoke will drift in, giving you no escape.

When our food finally arrived, we discovered that I had been given french fries (hurray!) and the hubby had received fish tacos (not his first choice, but okay).

Bar Louie

Starving and tired, I was several french fries into my meal before I an unexpected flavor caught my attention. Salt, pepper, and...lime? I'm a big fan of lime and salt, so this was a happy surprise that pepped up the otherwise standard thinly sliced french fries. As near as I could tell, the lime juice had been sprinkled on the salt which was used on the fries.

My wrap was another pleasant surprise. The roasted zucchini had a fresh flavor and a touch of crunch. The carrots were sweet, the spinach fresh, cooked to just wilted with still crisp stems. The creamy balsamic dressing gave the dish a sweet pop and the whole delicious compilation was wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled lightly on each side. My only, minor, complaint was that the balsamic dressing was all on one side of the wrap, instead of evenly coating the veggies.

The hubby enjoyed his tacos (shown at the top of this post), noting that they were just a little bit spicy, with tangy rice and limey beans.

I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed my meal at Bar Louie. That said, the abysmal service means I'm unlikely to return of my own accord. If you can overlook the poor service and don't mind smoke, the patio offers a unique atmosphere for hanging out and the interior space has generous room for mingling. With food that far outshines your typical bar fare.

Total for the meal: $21.68 (includes two entrees)


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Bar Louie on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Hey Amanda- I just recently found your blog, and I'm looking forward to catching up on your reviews! I've been living in Huntsville for about a year and a half now, and love that there are still new places to go eat out at. Just wanted to say hi, and also say that I've been to Bar Louie at least 4 times now, and the service is normally amazing. I think they may have improved since you went last. Also- I highly recommend going during happy hour- all appetizers are 1/2 off (the shrimp kabobs are amazing!) and their specialty martinis are just $5.

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  2. I went there last week and service has gotten a fair bit better and more consistent. So things have improved. My wife finds it funny the 'fawning' that goes on, especially when they try it with me. She had to tell me what was going on - I totally missed it.

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