Latest Adventures

Bottega Louie, Downtown LA


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I first heard of Bottega Louie in Downtown LA when I was planning my 30th birthday bash, based on good reviews on Yelp!. I ultimately opted to go Vegas instead, but have wanted to try BL since last fall. So on a balmy Monday morning, my husband and I went to BL for lunch, and much to my delight, this was the first image that greeted us:
Upon being seated, we were offered complimentary sparkling water, which in my mind, was awesome. But tasting it was a different story; it tasted like carbonated tap water, which was ok, but not what I was expecting. I also got some berry lemonade, which was nice, sweet and tart, but nothing special, except for the blueberry garnish.
We decided to split one entrée and order several small plates. That was the beauty of this place; you get to sample as many different dishes as you want without having to order full-sized meals. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Portobello Fries; that was a no-brainer for me. I was not disappointed. The light batter was crispy, the mushroom was juicy and flavorful; it was a great texture contrast. The basil aioli that served as dipping sauce further complemented the dish. In other words, it was yummy all around. It’s definitely a must-have when you go.
We also ordered the Fried Calamari, which was accompanied with marinara sauce for dipping. It was quite lovely, the crispy rings of tender squid also made me very happy. Although not quite as good as fried calamari I’ve sampled elsewhere, it was still a solid dish.
The Roasted Asparagus with Fried Egg was also another great dish. It is prepared quite simply; fresh asparagus roasted until crisp tender, laying on a pool of what I want to say is béarnaise and topped with a fried egg and some parmesan shavings. Simple ingredients (except for maybe the béarnaise), but when eaten together, had pleasant complexity in flavor.
If you have been reading the last few entries, then you know of my love affair with Brussels sprouts. You would also know that if it’s on the menu, it will be ordered. It seems that the sprouts that comprise this small dish were braised and not roasted, as they didn’t have the caramelized “skin” typical of roasted veggies. They were served with slivered, toasted almonds, which are supposed to provide a nice texture contrast to the vegetables. Unfortunately, however, that was not the case. It seems like the sprouts were not cooked long enough. The flavors were there, but the texture was not.
Finally, we ordered the Chicken Milanese to share; it was served with an arugula salad and checca, which are fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and garlic tossed with extra virgin olive oil. I thought that the chicken was okay; it didn’t necessarily pack the flavor punch I was expecting. I did, however, like the peppery arugula mixed with the checca.
I simply could not leave Bottega Louie’s without purchasing one of the delectable-looking pastries on display. It came down to monkey bread or a macaroon, and quite frankly, the monkey bread was more pastry for your buck, and I’ve never had monkey bread before. I always thought that it would be gooey and soft, but the top was surprisingly crunchy, like, over baked crunchy. That slightly disappointed me, but didn’t stop me from finishing the whole thing when I got back to work. 
I liked Bottega Louie. I’d definitely go back there, especially for those Portobello Fries. It tends to get very busy during the rush hours, so plan on going early. It is also very noisy, so it isn't a good idea to go there for intimate conversation.

Bottega Louie, 700 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles