Home > Restaurants > Louie’s Cuisine of China – 1/30/2001

Louie’s Cuisine of China – 1/30/2001


Location: 5100 15th Ave NW

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30-11

Fri: 11:30-12

Sat: 4-12

Sun: 3-10

According to my mom, when my family visited Seattle in 1978 from Texas, my great-aunt, Stella, took us to Louie’s Cuisine of China for what was, as far as I remember, my first taste of Chinese food. I doubt it has changed very much in the intervening 33 years.

Louie’s is what I would call “American” Chinese food. No odd ingredients. I doubt anyone comes out and chops the head off a goose a la “A Christmas Story”. It’s the type of place you take a 7 year old and her meat and potatoes dad and brother to introduce them to Chinese food. If you want authentic Chinese, go to the International District. If you’re in the mood for perfectly good but tame Chinese food, Louie’s is your place.

Our trip to Louie’s was the brainchild of a couple of friends visiting Seattle from Portland with their new baby, Theo. Louie’s is probably one of the few places in Ballard that was able to accommodate our party of 11 adults and one baby. They have at least one private room with a table that was large enough to comfortably seat our party.  I think the only couple of issues with the room were an air conditioning pipe that kept dripping on J and the temperature fluctuation. Neither of these were a big deal.

The Service:

I was told that the person who took the reservation for our large party was really friendly. We did have to wait a few minutes while the room was prepared. I would not be surprised if the one waitress, of the two who were assigned to the room, served my family when we visited back in 1978. Both were helpful.

It did take a couple of requests to get water for the entire table but after we received our glasses, the servers were quick to refill them as needed. I think the only issue I saw was that our main dishes didn’t come out all at once. The first batch of food came out and it was nearly 5 minutes until the next batch arrived then the remainder of the dishes arrived a few minutes later. This left half the table trying to be polite and wait for everyone’s entrees to arrive before eating, all the while the air conditioning in the room caused those first dishes to start getting cold.

The Drinks:

J had rum and coke and I drank a glass of merlot. Both were perfectly fine.

The Food:

Appetizers: J and I ordered the Crab Rangoon served with a tangy, plum sauce. The won ton wrap wasn’t too greasy, which is a problem I’ve found with other versions of this appetizer. The dipping sauce was sweet with a bit of tang that complimented the cream cheese and crab mix inside. I’ve had better crab Rangoon but this was good, especially for the number of pieces per order.

Others at the table ordered pot stickers and egg rolls. I tried both. The pot sticker had a nice crust on the bottom and the flavor of the pork was good. The egg roll was serviceable as well.

Entrees: J ordered Chow Fun with beef, a dish with wide egg noodles, Chinese broccoli and brown soy sauce. He really liked the Chow Fun. I took a taste or two and found it very good. Nice soy flavor without being overwhelming.

I ordered the Mandarin Beef with peppers, onion and Szechwan peppers on a bed of crispy rice noodles. Mine was one of the dishes that came out first so it was a little cold by the time I started eating. The beef was just spicy enough for my taste. I’m a sucker for onions and peppers sautéed in brown soy sauce and these did not disappoint me. The peppers were still a bit crispy and the onions hovered in that great area between not quite done and caramelized. The only thing I could have done without was the bed of crispy rice noodles. They had the consistency of little pieces of styrofoam and quickly became limp in the sauce. I think I would’ve liked the dish better if it had been served on the wide egg noodles.

The Price:

Rum & coke: $4.50

Merlot: $7.00

Crab Rangoon: $7.00

Chow Fun: $8.75

Mandarin Beef: $10.50

The Verdict:

The most appropriate adjective for Louie’s Cuisine of China is good. The atmosphere is good. The service is good. The food is good. If you have a large party, Louie’s is the place to go in Ballard. If you want to introduce someone who’s never had Chinese food to the cuisine, Louie’s probably is the best place to do so. It’s non-frightening, American Chinese food.

Is it the best, most authentic Chinese food in Seattle? No. If you want that, go the International District. Is it the best Chinese food in Ballard? Possibly. We still have two Ballard Chinese restaurants to review. I’ll give our verdict on that question when the time comes.

We will most likely go back to Louie’s for our immediate Chinese food needs. We’ve gotten take-out from them before. But if we want something special or authentic, we’ll hop a bus down to the ID.

  1. adams
    January 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I just wanted to add that the food coming out in two waves is pretty common and doesn’t seem to me to be at all unreasonable when dealing with a large party. the staff basically has a choice of letting the first stuff the cooks finish stand in the kitchen and get cold, then serving everything at once and getting complaints about that (and how long everything took) or bringing it out hot and as fast as possible in waves and leaving it up to the people whose stuff isn’t done yet to say whether they mind if their friends start without them. most places I’ve been to with large parties go with the latter choice and I think it’s the better plan overall.

    after that disagreement in their favor though, I’d like to register a slight disagreement to their detriment, and that is that I think using “good” to describe their food is a little overly generous. I’ve had probably a dozen different dishes there over the last few years (a few on multiple occasions) and I can’t say that any of them really rose to the level of good.

    the general tso’s chicken last night was a perfect example – the sauce was great, but the chicken itself was just cooked cubes covered in sauce with none of the crispiness that usually makes general tso seem like as much a culinary genius as he was a masterful military tactician. there was certainly nothing *wrong* with it – I didn’t get food poisoning, it tasted ok, it was pleasantly prepared and presented…but the only thing really *right* with it was the sauce. and that’s the easiest part to get right – hell, I could do it at home.

    so I would use “serviceable” or “acceptable” or “not bad” rather than “good” myself (and indeed, will do so in my pending yelp review). it’s a mild quibble over semantics perhaps, but to me it’s the difference between 2.5 stars and 3.

    definitely the best place in town for large parties though. they have tons of seating and a number of large tables. the service doesn’t have the scalability problems from which many other establishments suffer. and there’s something on the menu for almost everyone, whatever their dietary preferences, needs or religious requirements. it also, as you noted, won’t scare your friends or relatives from rural iowa.

    • January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Yeah, I’d agree it’s probably just semantics between your definition of “good” and mine.

      Also, other than the crispy rice noodle things, my dish tasted good. A good site better than some Chinese than I’ve had. That, and the fact that J really liked his dish, colored the review towards “good” rather than “serviceable”.

      Thanks for your mini-review. I was, and continue to be, interested in other opinions about the places we go.

  2. February 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Just another point, if you eat Chinese food family style, sharing dishes together, rather than the American way of each person getting an individual dish, the fact that they don’t come at the same time isn’t a problem.

  1. February 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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