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Settling in for dinner at the esteemed pizza joint, my friend asked if I'd seen the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode that included Louie's. Nope--don't watch the show, although I've run across it now and again.
Nothing wrong with the concept, mind you. I would simply prefer they highlight run down shacks serving world class fare, whether it be catfish, fried pies, lobster or pizza. That Louie's owns such a stratospheric reputation in Dallas says more about the lagging state of pizza in this city than the kitchen itself. There's no way even the most ardent fan of Lou Canelakes' little venue can say it serves memorable pies according to national standards.
Well, they probably would, but that's besides the point.
This is not to say Louie's is somehow inferior. Not at all. If crust accounts for 40, 50 or maybe even 60 percent of a pizza's success, the Henderson Avenue dive indeed ranks right up there. On their best nights, it is cracker thin and crisp on the edges while still holding up in the middle, where all the liquids puddle and begin to soak through. The kitchen also wisely refuses to overload the pie with sauce and cheese, creating what should be a neatly balanced thing.
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But the nights aren't always good. And depending upon the stack on ingredients, sodium can pile up. Grease, too. The sauce tends toward sweet, almost begging for a handful of Jimmy's sausage to pose a counterpoint.
So, better than most in Dallas? Probably...although that's not saying much. Good crust? Yep, most of the time. Brilliant creations worthy of television and a trip across state lines just for a taste? Not really.
Of course, Louie's doesn't aspire to that kind of attention. They're a neighborhood dive with a huge reputation. Yet they just keep doing what they do, like it or not.
Just wish they'd start taking Visa. Or Mastercard.