These Are Terrifying Times, But You Must Remember: There Is A New Restaurant In Allston
We are entering an abnormal era. Our president is a reckless sociopath with a pipeline of devious intentions, many of which have flimsy constitutional backing. The people are in the streets because that’s all that they feel they can do. Capital is getting tougher and labor is getting more restless. But even through it all we have to remember one resoundingly true fact: there is a new restaurant called Loui Loui which has opened on Brighton Ave in Allston.
And even, when we are facing the worst, I have fulfilled my sacred obligation to review this establishment.
Think back to a year ago. These were simpler times. We had a president with less of a murderous edge to him. Also Bravo Pizza was still open. We thought Bravo would be around forever, just like national stability, but we turned out to be quite wrong. Bravo closed and for almost a year there was no new occupant of the space. Until Loui Loui has come in.
On the exterior, it seems like they’ve changed a lot about Bravo, they made it looks eerily similar to the facade of Brighton Music Hall next door, so much that a casual passerby might assume to relation between the buildings. On the inside, it’s mostly the same table layout (albeit without no pizza counter) but hey, what else are you gonna do with it?
The menu is… not clear. Like any of a number of recent executive orders, Loui Loui’s menu lays out a lot of ideas but doesn’t make it clear how they’re supposed to be implemented. Take for example the part of the menu called “The Boiler”:
Well first of all, since everything is market price, only half the information to help me is actually on the menu, so I’m spending my time looking between it and what’s written on the chalkboard behind me.
Next it asks if you want to make yours a combo. I don’t know, do I? There is no clear written advantage to making a boil combo. It’s not an economic advantage because you’re still paying market priced for everything. It’s not giving you extra flavors, because you’re just pairing all of the seafoods with a single sauce. I ate with two other people and we ordered a combo, but ultimately felt like this was a mistake.
My favorite part of this menu, by the way is that it’s possible to walk out of this choosing, clams, butter with garlic sauce and noodles. It’s like a special cheat code for Italian food. Nice try Louisiana, but you can’t keep me from my linguine with clams!
(Also not clear from this menu is how you would eat pasta and clams out of a bag without seeming like a crazy person.)
The prices are… not great. In this wretched situation we’ve created for ourselves, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Those on the economic decline might not get their money’s worth at this place.
I understand this is somewhat to be expected from market price, I’m not some vile goon with no understanding of seafood prices. But the portions were not given out generously. A 1/2 lb order of snow crab legs came out to legs in the bag, but the price was still premium.
What’s perhaps the most egregiously skimpy tactic is sausage, potato and corn are treated as “optional” when making your boil. I don’t know what sorry-ass seafood boils the menu makers go to, but those are certainly not optional, especially corn and potatoes. Even further, the option to add corn to your boil resulted in two pieces of corn! Two pieces! They should be filling the bag with that stuff to make sure we are full, but we didn’t even get enough to make sure all 3 diners got a piece. That’s grounds for elimination on Chopped! Just pile those extras into the boil and let me worry about what fresh seafood I’m looking to pay top dollar for.
We regret to inform you there is not yet alcohol. Which is not a plus, because these are not times to be sober in. But if you’re here you are limited to fountain Coke products. Not even a nice iced tea! I drank water with my meal, which is not preferred because the food is full of seawater and that just leads to a brackish stomach.
But oh man, did I want a Gansett. Perhaps this place would be a good contender for BYOB (especially considering how the prices making the dining experience already too expensive for portions of the neighborhood.)
As of this spring, Allston’s restaurants will be eligible to apply for BYOB licenses.medium.com
Much like our country on the whole, Loui Loui must answer the question of what it wants to be. If it’s a date spot, the lack of alcohol is a non-starter for obvious reasons. If it’s a hangout spot, it’s way to expensive (unless you’re looking to munch on a single order of calamari for an hour.) If it’s a fascist authoritarian state, we must resist it.
Let’s assume one way another you can have a nice white wine or a cheap beer there in a few months, then it’s clearly a date spot. The most obvious comparison would be to Holly Crab, who do a better job (albeit with a restaurant that is much further into it’s opening curve.) The second most obvious comparison would be Carlo’s, because it very much feels like a special occasion spot. This isn’t a bad thing on its own, but it’s a disappointment for anyone who was looking for a new occupant that’s as easily accessible as Bravo was.
But realistically, there’s nothing but good things to say about the food. The mussels were big and flavorful. The crab and crawfish was clearly all very fresh. The oysters we got before our boil were haphazardly shucked but were still clearly good oysters. The Louisiana sauce was delicious and choosing medium heat was exactly where I want a medium heat to be (spicy enough that I’m not embarrassed by choosing medium heat.) Even the corn was particularly tasty.
Really I have nothing but good things to say about the boil and I would be interested in going back sometime to get a taste of what comes out of their fryer.
So unlike the current political situation, which much be rejected now, we can give Loui Loui a chance, and reevaluate in a a few months. If we’re still alive.