Deep Within the subsection of Miami named West Kendall, you can find a new mom and pop Italian restaurant named Little Louie’s Italian Kitchen. It recently opened in a location that used to be home to one of my personal favorite spots to enjoy pizza. One day I went to the shopping center in hopes of obtaining my adored white pizza from Mike’s and was surprised to find them closed with Little Louie’s in its place. Still, being the food lover that I am, I immediately saw this as an opportunity to sample a new restaurant in hopes of finding someplace that may be a hidden gem.
I enjoy dining at upscale restaurants as much as the next person, but sometimes, this is just not a viable option. Expensive dining is not meant for an everyday occasion, and prices, time, and lack of wanting to get dressed up keep us (or me, at least) from constantly going out to sample upscale cuisine. Luckily, that is why we have more affordable and close-to-home mom and pop shops like Little Louie’s, who may be serving food that is just as good as dishes that you are paying an arm and a leg for in upscale places. Little Louie’s Italian Kitchen lives up to its name, holding no more than 30 people at a time. The open kitchen where the pizza is made takes up half of the restaurant up, and watching the chefs at work is almost like free entertainment. The way the pizzaiolos stretch out the dough, place the toppings, and handle the oven is a mesmerizing feat, making the time between you and your pizza seem almost like nothing. The service is stellar, with the owner personally tending to every single table and handing out free plates of from-the-oven garlic rolls just as you sit down. With the sort of hospitality that is being promoted here, I would have returned even if the food was not up to par. Luckily, I was blown away with what I have sampled enough to already claim that I have their phone number on speed dial.
The selection of food is similar to what you will find in any shopping center Italian restaurant, but the quality of the dishes are what set this place apart. By using ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes and the soon-to-be prominent Miami Smoker’s bacon, Little Louie’s Italian Kitchen not only tends to gravitate towards local ingredients, but will also be producing food of much higher quality. The red sauce here is good enough to drink with a straw, and if I were not dining out in a public establishment, I would have done nothing short of that. I was finding myself looking for things on my plate to dip into the sauce just to be able to finish the generous amount that was placed in the serving bowl. Anything from garlic rolls, to pizza crust, to leftover spaghetti was placed on my fork and dunked into the red sauce. Needless to say, the creator of this pizza sauce must be highly commended.
The same sauce is used to create on of my preferred dishes of all time, the Eggplant Parmesan (which the owner recommended), and I was taken aback by what I was served. I tend to never order this dish when dining out, as I have been sorely disappointed by what has been served to me, but the food that I had sampled at Little Louie’s was so surprising, that I decided to take the plunge and order the dish that might place this restaurant in my mind as a new favorite. Need less to say, the dish I was served ranks up as one of the best Eggplant Parmesans I have ever had the chance of tasting. Somehow, Little Louie’s managed to draw all the excess moisture out of the eggplant that usually ruins the dish, and simply coats it in breadcrumbs, pan fries it, and tops it with red sauce and cheese. What may sound like a simple dish is a menagerie of textures and flavors, tasting crisp, gooey, refreshing, flavorful, and soul satisfying all at the same time. There was no need to reach for the red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, or pepper on the plate from how well everything was seasoned. Overall, I would come back for this dish alone.
Little Louie’s has found a place in my rotation of places to frequent in the area. And although I still mourn my beloved White Pizza from Mike’s, I am okay with the fact that Little Louie’s took over their location. It is filling the gap in Italian offerings that West Kendall needed to badly fill.
4254 SW 152nd Ave.
Miami, FL, US, 33185
By food blogger, Santiago Cardona