There are plenty of familiar items here, done a little differently. Fried calamari, meatballs in red sauce, shrimp cocktail and an old school antipasto plate but with gruyere, too, are some of the starters. Then the pastas, which are well-done here, thin and light, when either stuffed or not. My spinach ravioli with the Bianco sauce described as “cultured butter, Reggiano” was enjoyable, with the pasta pockets almost delicate, noticeably more skillfully crafted than most local spots. In the tradition of Italian-American restaurants, you’ve got the choice of sauces, red or white, for a couple of the pasta preparations here. The Piemontese spindly-stranded tajarin – that region’s version of spaghetti, freshly made – is nicely yellow similar as there with a surfeit of egg yolks in the dough. Heartier fare includes the seemingly necessary Chicken Parm, redfish with the piccata treatment. and sausage and peppers. Desserts are just four, all $10: tiramisu, Pistachio Bundt Cake, Souffle Cheesecake, and a rotating gelato, all likely worth consideration. You’ll probably have room. Still very early on, not everything works like the Garlic Mozzarella Bread I ordered to sop of the sauce. Made with house-made mozzarella atop obviously excellent bread and slathered with an odd, roasted garlic and black garlic butter that is served in a skillet manages to be less than its parts and also awkward to eat.
A very limited, well-chosen selection of wines – including a food-friendly, drinkable Barbera del Monferrato for just $6 – and an handful of cocktails that are slated to increase in number help add atmosphere to the quaint setting that manages to be both industrial and homey. And it shares a mixed-use building in the East End with a few other complementary businesses including the funky wine bar How to Survive on Land and Sea.
Louie’s Italian American
3401 Harrisburg (at Sampson), 77003, (346) 446-5770