Louise’s Trattoria review

 

While I love nothing more than trying new restaurants, there is always a handful of places that I keep returning to whenever I want a quality meal.  They include local favorite The Chancery, Shorewood’s Harry’s Bar and Grill, the Third Ward’s Wicked Hop, Hectors in Wauwatosa, and Waukesha’s La Estacion.  Another staple is Louise’s in Milwaukee and Brookfield.

Louise’s serves California-style Italian cuisine (like the phenomenal Zin in Delafield, but not as upscale or expensive) and they do an admirable job at it.  Whenever we cannot decide where to go my wife or I will usually thrown out Louise’s as an idea and almost every time we go there we leave satisfied. 

Dinners at Louise’s begin with complementary foccacia bread with an awesome vinegar and oil dipping sauce speckled with crushed red pepper.  Beware!  The bread is addictive and they give you a lot of it.  Don’t east so much that you have no room for your appetizers, salads, or entrees.  Another bonus is that Louise’s is owned by the same group that owns the Water Street Brewery, so they offer some excellent Water Street Beers brewed by brew master George Bluvas III.

I rarely order appetizers here because I am so enamored by their salads.  That being said, I really enjoy the fried calamari with the tangy tomato dipping sauce.  The mozzarella caprese was pretty weak and I would avoid it.  For $7.95 you get a few slices of pretty mediocre fresh mozzarella (of questionable origin and age) and depending on the time of year, some weak tomatoes.  It’s not terrible, but save your 8 bucks for something better on the menu like their awesome salads.

If you are going to get a salad for 2 people to split you may be enticed to order the large, which would easily feed 2-4 people.  To be honest my wife and I usually just get a small salad and split it.  It is still pretty large and if you are eating the free bread, ordering a entree, and even considering dessert, it will be plenty.  The star of the show is the Organic Baby Lettuces with Gorgonzola.  The salad is perfectly dressed with Balsamic vinaigrette. The gorgonzola is creamy with an excellent tangy taste and the toasted walnuts add a nice crunch. The Goat cheese salad with pine nuts (pictured above), sun dried tomatoes, and sherry vinaigrette (pictured above) is also a solid choice.

I have tried numerous entrees and while there are some good choices and some so-so choices, you simply cannot go wrong ordering the house made Tortelloni Vegetali ($10.95), which features handmade Tortelloni stuffed with fresh seasonal veggies, three kinds of cheese and a light parmesan sauce. The bite sized pastas encircle a mound of excellent sautéed spinach, which tastes even better if you drag each fork full through the parmesan sauce.  Another solid hit is the Chicken Ravioli alla Romana ($12.95) which features ravioli stuffed with chicken, tarragon, and cheese.  The ravioli are tossed with a slightly spicy sauce and some shitake mushrooms.  Other standout dishes are the Artichoke Ravioli (actually all of their handmade pastas are excellent choices), Chicken Piccata with garlic mashed potatoes, and the Veggie Lasagna. Friends also rave about the Stromboli.   The only dishes that I have not been enamored with are the Cioppino and the Taglioni alla Pescatora (mussels, fish, clams, and shrimp with pasta).  These are two dishes that I wish were good because I love shellfish, but for some reason both of them were pretty mediocre. Another complaint about Louise’s is that they rarely add items or change their menu.

Louise’s usually offers a special or two each evening.  If they are offering any seafood specials (typically on Friday) I would strongly suggest trying them out.  They are experts at preparing perfectly cooked salmon and paring it with pasta and a light and flavorful sauce or garlic mashed potatoes (also offered with other entrees) and some sautéed vegetables.   Shrimp and scallop specials have also been very impressive. 

I recently took some relatives to Louise’s in Brookfield for a Saturday morning brunch and just like at dinner, we received the normal attentive service and good food.  The Frittata Margherita is baked with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil and is pretty good, though it was quite under seasoned.  A little salt would have really brought out the taste of the tomatoes and eggs. The smoked salmon Benedict fared much better.  Smoked salmon (lox) and eggs are placed atop two English muffins and covered (not smothered, thank god) with a great tasting lemon caper hollandaise sauce. They also offer two takes on French Toast, a traditional one and a bananas foster version with bananas flambéed with rum, butter, and brown sugar.  While I didn’t have it, the Portobello mushroom eggs Benedict looked impressive.  Instead of a English muffin a couple of Portobello mushroom caps serve as the base and they are topped with caramelized onions, poached eggs, asparagus spears and a roasted tomato vinaigrette. Each entree is served with excellent crispy Potatoes Louise and fresh fruit. The coffee was good and the server made sure no mug ever got below half full.  Oh and that excellent foccacia bread I raved about is also served at breakfast.

 So if you want a great meal at an impressive price, Louise’s is deserving of a visit.  There is truly something for everyone here.  People who aren’t pasta fans can find comfort in pizzas, chicken, and seafood dishes and there are some great options for the vegetarians in your group.  Both locations are excellent (though the dining rooms are loud because frankly, people are having a lot of fun here) and both have outdoor seating.  Though the patio in Brookfield is facing the heavily traveled nightmare that is Bluemound Road, a tall row of hedges coupled with Louise’s setting on a hill provides enough screening that you can easily forget that you are overlooking suburbia. 

Here is Getto’s review: http://www.onwisconsin.com/dining/dining.asp?id=3140

 

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10 thoughts on “Louise’s Trattoria review

  1. I LOVE Louise’s Trattoria, although I’ve never gone to the Brookfield location. I really like the Chicken Pesto Calzone. It’s absolutely delicious.

  2. I’m a big fan of Louise’s Trattoria. I also recommend Oakland Trattoria, owned by the same company. OT has the same bread, GREAT wood-fired pizza, and their homemade pasta is excellent and VERY similar to LT’s, but lower priced. They also have really cheap lunch specials and the coupon on their website gets you a pizza, two salads, and two drinks (this can be their large Weiss beer or even martinis) for $16.

  3. I agree Louise’s has EXCELLENT salads.

    But, in my opinion, they would benefit from changing up their menu and improving their vegetarian pasta selections.

    I went in February and ordered the Tortelloni Vegetali (“Tortelloni filled with fresh seasonal vegetables, Mascarpone, Ricotta and Parmigiano cheese. Served with fresh sautéed spinach”.) By “seasonal” in February I was expecting something interesting like sweet potatoes, squash, or even kale. Nope, just chopped carrots and zucchini, and the spinach was terribly bland.

    I went to Louises again two weeks ago, and by sheer forgetfullness I ordered the exact same thing. I was thinking, “ahh, seasonal vegetables–it’s August, so the pasta is gonna be stuffed with broiled tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers!” But as soon as I got my plate, I remembered. Plain ol’ carrots and zucchini in the pasta. Accompanied by a huge pile of bland spinach. :(

  4. THE WORST DINING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!!! I had a few friends in from out of town and I suggested that we go to dinner at Louise’s Trattoria. It was a Saturday night so I made a reservation for 7:00 p.m. My fiance and I arrive at the restaurant at 6:55 and check in with the hostess “Megan.” She tells me that our table will be ready “in 5 minutes.” Five minutes pass, Ten minutes pass, Fifteen minutes pass and Megan again says “the table will be ready in 5 minutes.” Twenty minutes pass, twenty five minutes pass and again Megan says “5 more minutes.” We are standing in a crowded area next to the door that keeps opening and closing on a 30 degree night. It is now 7:30 and I go up to the Hostess “Megan” and ask if our table is ready. She says that it is and I ask why it took us until 7:30 to be seated when our reservation was for 7:00 p.m.? This is literally Megan’s response, “I actually saw that the other two members of your party just arrived so you weren’t waiting,” in the most sarcastic and condescending way. I respond “We aren’t able to be seated and order an appetizer until all of our party is here?” Megan’s response, “You can be seated but you haven’t been waiting so don’t lie about it.” Mind you it is 7:30 when I had a 7:00 p.m. reservation and the hostess has now in front of several other customers called me a liar. I ask to speak with the hostess Megan’s manager and she responds in the rudest possible tone, “I am the manager, if you have a problem you can speak with me.” At this point I am speechless as I can’t believe a business could be run like this. I say “You are being unbelievably rude to me.” She doesn’t respond, so I guess I can’t speak with her, turns around and walks away to our table. She just drops the menus on the table and begins to walk away and I asked her for her name which again, in the rudest possible tone, she responds “Megan,” and walked back to the hostess table. I consider myself a very patient customer and I rarely if ever will complain about the service I receive but this was the rudest encounter I have ever experienced. I will never return to Louise’s Trattoria and I have since told everyone who will listen about this experience. I can’t believe the owner would allow someone to speak with customers this way and I really get the feeling that I’m not the only customer Megan has offended. If you are looking for somewhere to go in Downtown Milwaukee, be sure to avoid Louise’s and Megan, the “hostess from hell.”

    • Im not surprised at all, I in fact found out the “hostess from hell” is their general manager! Terrible people, food, and bugs ALL over the place. A stupid manager once told me a cockroach was a cricket! I will NEVER touch the food there again.

  5. I am shocked at how you were treated. Louise’s is a place I have eaten at probably upwards of 25 times, probably more. While I have had some mediocre experiences from time to time (slow service, bad waiter/waitress, so-so food) I have never had anyone be rude to me. I would say that 90 precent of my visits had good service, good food, and no attitude.

    I think if the policy is to no seat everyone until the entire party is there they should have just told you that you won’t be seated until everyone arrives. But I don’t think its policy there because I have met people there several times and have been seated while waiting for friends and have had friends get seated waiting for us.

    I’d contact the R.C. Schmidt Restaurant Group and let them know what happened.

  6. Pingback: http://onlinet1.com/service_providers.php

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