I had lunch at Louie's today as part of my soft shelled crab search.
Started with a few dim sum items--ordered from a printed list with English translations--before moving onto a lunch special...
Soft Shelled Crab -- Deep fried with a panko-like breading and topped with dried garlic and jalapeño. Too much breading, too much salt, not enough meat. A disappointment.
"Mushroom" Shu Mai -- Dumplings stuffed with a tiny bit of mushroom and shrimp, but mostly pork. Very complex smoked sausage flavor, different from other shu mai I'd had. My favorite item of the meal.
Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant -- Shrimp and eggplant were fine, but too much black bean sauce overwhelmed the dish. Mostly this just made me look forward to my upcoming visit to HKFL.
Thousand Layer Cake -- A bit denser with a higher ratio of custard to cake than during our chowdown lunch. Otherwise fresh, warm, not too sweet, and enjoyable.
Lunch Special (Tea Smoked Bass and Schezuan Scallops) -- Realized only just now after rereading Ruth's post that we never got the soup. Not a problem because we had plenty of food, but still... Tea smoked bass, as Ruth said, is good but not as good as it was during the chowdown. At the group lunch, we were served a huge block of fish with a 4" cross section, which had a rim of tea smoked flesh but mostly tender, silky, clean flesh. Today's was a 1" steak from a much smaller fish, resulting in a far stronger smoke flavor and dry texture in the middle. It was served on a nest of crispy fried noodles with a pool of gravy underneath: the crunchy noodles with sauce were our favorite items on the plate. The scallops were served with mushrooms (a mix of fresh and canned) and bamboo shoots in a slightly spicy brown sauce. The scallops were a little overdone and overall the dish was unremarkable. The pickled vegetables were a refreshing palatte cleanser.
Total bill with tip came to just under $30. Not worth it, in my opinion.