Packrat Louie Kitchen & Bar has been an Old Strathcona staple for decades and, this year, both the space and menu were seriously revamped – and the results are fantastic.
The rustic wood-fired oven at the centre of the space remains, as do the brick accents. Otherwise, the spot has been refreshed to yield an airy, modern space with a touch of vintage charm in the light fixtures.
With Chef Levi Biddlecombe at the helm, the menu has also changed dramatically, with the addition of intriguing fusion dishes, from Koji Fried Chicken to root beer braised duck wings. The brussels sprouts appetizer was particularly stunning – crisp boar bacon, maple bourbon glaze, fermented chilli corn relish, all atop charred yet tender sprouts.
There is just one dish remaining from the previous menu – the iconic Lemon Pizza, which has held a spot on the menu for 25 years. It’s easy to see why Biddlecombe decided to keep the signature dish – a simple pizza, topped with just mozzarella, edam and a generous sprinkle of oregano to add an herbaceous element. Drizzle lemon over it all for a touch of bright acidity. The only other thing that remains the same is the service – which is impeccable.