This is my first official restaurant review: Louie’s Wine Dive located at 16920 Wright Plaza in Omaha. I was excited when I first saw Louie’s open near my house. It looked like a fun place and with a name containing wine and dive I was intrigued. At the time, I wasn’t aware it was a chain. Louie’s has other locations in Des Moines, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Waukee. The décor on the outside really does get your attention as it is bold and colorful and draw you in. Once inside you are met by bold accents and a mix of elegance and a dive theme with mismatched chairs and tables. I wasn’t sure if the food was going to be more refined or home cooking. The menu has something for everyone and features flatbreads, burgers, salads, and pastas.
I have been here one time before today so I will include a little on that experience too. I believe in trying restaurants at least 2-3 times before I make a final decision on the food and service in case someone is having an off day. After all, we all are human (at least I think so) and many things can go wrong in the service industry on any given day even when you try to make sure you are delivering consistent food and great service.
On my first visit a few months ago we tried 3 of the appetizers; the BLT deviled eggs ($7), the Pig Stix ($12) ad the Lobster Poutine ($16). I love deviled eggs something you don’t see very often on a menu and can be interpreted so many ways. Louie’s makes theirs topped with bacon, arugula, and oven roasted tomatoes. The presentation was amazing however it was very salty. In fact, it was so salty that my companion couldn’t even finish one of them. Trying to not count the salt issue I could tell that these deviled eggs showed promise and could be a hit. The overall flavor (minus the salt!!) and creaminess was right on. I did tell our waiter but he just dismissed it without even saying sorry or trying to remedy the situation. The Pig Stix, slow roasted pork shanks tossed in honey hoisin glaze, were recommended by our waiter and were a hit. The meat was very tender and glaze was not too sweet. This could easily be a light meal. Lastly, we tried the Lobster Poutine. Maine Lobster, portobella mushrooms, fontina in a white gravy over fries….what’s not to love? Well I hate to say it but the SALT!! This dish is one I can see you either will love it or hate it. I love all the ingredients separately and it was okay together (minus again the salt) but I am a purest when it comes to Maine Lobster and I don’t even use butter when I have lobster. Considering we tried three appetizers I settled for the Louie’s wedge salad with salmon ($9 plus $5 for salmon) to round out the meal. I love the simplicity of a wedge salad but how it can be so refined. Louie’s wedge salad comes with green goddess dressing. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It had a nice crust on it and cooked a perfect medium- medium rare. Unfortunately, once again the salt content of the dressing was the downfall. Our server was friendly and attentive even though he didn’t try to make any adjustments for the salt issue. After leaving, the rest of the day into the evening I could still taste salt and was drinking a lot of water. I wasn’t sure what to think if this was just how they make all their food to encourage drinking or if this was a bad day in the kitchen.
My next visit was a couple days ago for lunch. It was about 12:30 pm and the restaurant still had a lunch crowd. The front half of the dining room was about 80% full and I only witnessed one waitress who was seating people and waiting on tables. Today I decided to try something different and opted for the classic 6 ounce angus burger ($9.99) with cheese ($1.19) and bacon ($1.99). The wine list was extensive but also more pricey than I would like in this type of establishment. The average price for a glass of wine was $10-$12.00 with very few options below that. I inquired if they had a house wine. Our waitress suggested a 3 red blend. It was a very nice easy to drink red wine, a good table wine that would satisfy most people and could go with many meals. It wasn’t to bold or too light. I was surprised when I looked at my bill that my ‘house wine’ was $8.00. Don’t get me wrong. I love wine and have no problem paying for a great glass of something I like but their prices are more in line with a fine dining establishment. Okay onto the burger. The menu did say a 6 ounce burger but the burger did look quite small with the toppings overwhelming it. The waitress didn’t ask how we wanted it cook so I am assuming they cook all their burgers to a medium- medium well as that is how it came out. The burger was not juicy and it had one piece of bacon on it. The bacon was a nice thick cut bacon but was a little chewy where it probably could of used another minute. I tried a piece of the burger itself and it had no seasoning or taste, maybe they are relying on their special dressing they put on the burgers which was just okay. The fries were your basic fries with parsley and did not encourage me to finish eating them. Believe it or not his time there probably was not enough salt on the fries or in the burger itself. So my bill for a basic bacon cheeseburger and a glass of red wine was $23.13.
Now according to my own rule…I will have to go back at least one last time to give them the benefit of the doubt. Well now that I think of it maybe 2 more times. Our waitress raved about the four pork gnocchi and I read great reviews on the gnocchi so I may have to try that. In addition, Louie’s offers a Sunday brunch from 10 am – 3 pm that I think is only fair to try. If you decide to venture out and try Louie’s yourself please note that it is not really kid friendly and check the hours as the hours are not consistent.
Online the current posted hours in Omaha are:
Mon 4 pm -1 0 pm
T- TH 11 am – 10 pm
Fri/ Sat 11 am – 11pm
Sunday brunch 10 am – 3 pm and dinner 3 pm- 8 pm