Well, this specific Louiseâ€™s Trattoria offers a tremendously convenient feature. â€śPark and Dineâ€ť. You can park at their lot, have a very decent dinner, catch their 5-minute ride up to the Greek Theatre for a concert like I did and return. All very, very convenient. Frankly, this idea makes a visit to Louiseâ€™s worthwhile all by itself.
Dinner was set at 5:30 for an 8pm concert. With Friday evening traffic we arrived at 5:45, our tails between our legs. Somewhere inside my head, I was glad for the late entry. I wanted to test the restaurant. After all, anyone can perform well in the given time. A true test might be to see them perform under pressure. Reality was, so much cushion is given to the â€śPark and Dineâ€ť that a 15-minute delay doesnâ€™t affect anyone.
Now this brings us to our first theme of the evening. I admit, Iâ€™m spoiled. I get to enjoy some of the best and most exclusive restaurants in Los Angeles. It comes down to ambience, food and service.
Not Too Bad
Louiseâ€™s ambience is not spectacular. The decor is mid-level and the location and views are set more for convenience than mood. This isnâ€™t bad or poor, it just is what it is. And so my view is of cars speeding by and occasionally waiting at a red light â€“ about twenty yards away. But I trust Chelsea, we probably have the best seat in the house.
Waitress Senait arrives. She reviews our menus with us, offers some complimentary bread and dipping oil and vinegar, then promises a quick return. During her visit, my one and only true contention is encountered.
3 Course Gourmet
The â€śPark and Dineâ€ť program is a 3-course meal with one complimentary â€śadult beverageâ€ť. Iâ€™m a vodka tonic guy and so my heart was set on one. Turns out, not gonna happen. At the bottom of the menu is a list of the adult beverages offered, about a dozen wine and beer choices. No hard liquor. Certainly no vodka tonic. My friend ordered a Chardonnay, I ordered a Merlot. Fair enough.
Moments later Senait arrives with our opening â€śgourmetâ€ť salads. With the choice of a Caesar salad or mixed greens, we both chose the latter. They arrived simply and easily with no fanfare. While present, she took our dinner orders.
My lovely friend ordered the Lobster Ravioli and I did what I always do. I asked her for what she considered was the best dish offered. She quickly recommended the Prime Rib and I went with it.
A Little Whiteâ€¦
Now, some would say itâ€™s my own fault. Both Senait and Jason inquired to the quality of our meals. I did the same thing that most people do. I smiled and nodded. In short, I lied. Sometimes itâ€™s not easy to speak up, right?
By now Senait returned again, cheerful as ever. Again I politely told her my steak was delicious. Iâ€™m starting to feel bad, but still too shy to complain. She confirms our Tiramisu dessert.
Tiramisu is delivered among two refills of wine. Contradictory to the menu listing, the sweets did not appear to be â€śhomemadeâ€ť. They looked perfectly manufactured. However, they were delicious and guilty pleasure-inducing.
Soâ€¦ Louiseâ€™s Trattoria. Iâ€™d go back again tomorrow. The atmosphere and service exceed the price tag. I betcha a normal dinner for two can come in at $30-some and for LA, thatâ€™s awfully reasonable. The staff is friendly and ready to help. The food. My guess is more often than not, itâ€™s better than youâ€™d expect. Donâ€™t walk in presuming Mastroâ€™s or Mortonâ€™s. Go for chicken or pasta and you wonâ€™t go wrong. If you go to the Los Feliz branch, ask for Jason the manager. Heâ€™ll make your night even better.
And truly, I cannot recommend their â€śPark and Dineâ€ť program enough. Itâ€™s a great deal and incredibly convenient.