Thursday, August 24, 2006

Miami Restaurant Review: Louie's Brick Oven

Louie’s Brick Oven Grill Rotisserie Bar, 15979 Biscayne Blvd, North Miami Beach

The new developments on the Biscayne corridor of North Miami Beach are to blame for the proliferation of brand-new strip malls readying themselves for the masses of young professionals soon to populate places like Biscayne Landing and other high-rises in Aventura. These restaurants are built for volume, with ample space and fortified staff. With THE SEASON almost upon us, it remains to be seen if these eateries will succeed with the P.F. Chang's-loving crowds up north. Located in the same plaza as upscale Delano-esque Sushi House is Louie’s Brick Oven Grill Rotisserie Bar. The restaurant is a pleasant enough alternative to the overcrowded eateries at the Aventura mall, it boasts friendly servers, “well-done” pizza, and a variety of beers on tap including my Italian favorite, Moretti.

Décor: Spacious, pseudo-converted-warehouse look with ample brick walls, large exposed air- conditioning ducts, and high ceilings. Two large flat screen TV’s flank the bar for requisite game watching comfort.

Service: Earnest and attentive. The only strange moment came at the beginning when in his introduction to the restaurant the server explained that all Louie’s s Brick oven pizza come out “well done.” It seemed more like a disclaimer than an introduction. And the use of the term well done for pizza seemed odd. Note to management, worlds like “crusty, crunchy, and crisp” are more flattering and appetizing.

Prices: Moderate to Expensive. Appetizers $8-$10. Salads and Pastas $8-$20. Pizzas (good enough for two) range from $11 for basic cheese to $17 for a meat lover’s pie. Entrees $11-$29. Wide beer and wine selection.

The Food: The “individual” size portion of the Caeser salad was large enough for two and came with fresh and crunchy romaine lettuce, not too much dressing, and rudimentary croutons. Disclaimer aside, the pizzas are wondrously executed. Thin-crusted, crisp and populated with fresh toppings, these pies are the real draw. The mushroom pie came heaping with sliced portabella and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, and tangy goat cheese. The grilled vegetable pie was also satisfying with diced marinated red peppers, generous slices of eggplant, and sautéed spinach.

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