Chef Lou’s Kitchen is nestled into a tiny, hidden strip mall located in the middle-of-nowhere north side. Okay, okay, that’s a lie, it is near the field where we have soccer practices, that counts right? Anyways, I remember reading some good things about CLK so we decided to try it for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon.
The interior is pretty bland, even for Vietnamese standards. Outdated décor, old booths but the husband/wife combo working the restaurant are very friendly. No real menus (only take outs from what I saw) but there is a chalkboard filled with daily specials and regular menu posted up front.
The menu can be summed up in a word or two: RANDOM/WTF. Haha, seriously, they have every cuisine imaginable, all under one roof. Breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, donairs, burgers, pizza and a few select Vietnamese dishes. Bbop and I couldn’t phantom how they offer so many dishes while stocking all the necessary ingredients to make each one. Yowza. I assume it’s to cater to the clientele that comes in otherwise, I would say they lack major focus. It reminds me of Pho Huong & Mama Pizza’s menu but at least they limit their Western dishes to simply pizza.
Shrimp and pork salad rolls (#48) ($6.00)
Three generous portions of salad rolls. Nice touch how they separate the crushed peanuts in a small side container from the sauce. Filling salad rolls that hit the spot.
Green onion cakes ($6.00)
The green onion cakes aren’t on their main menu but they do have a poster up advertising that they offer them. You get two pieces and it comes with a side of sweet chili sauce. Solid portion and it was fried nicely, not too greasy which is always a thumbs up.
Char-broiled marinated pork chop (#52) ($11.50)
I love when I choose wisely. I was debating between pho and the pork chop originally but the pork chop hands down was the winner. The pork chop was beautifully marinated, which resulted in a sweet flavour and incredibly tender meat. I don’t order many Vietnamese meat dishes as I’ve only really enjoyed the ones I’ve had in Vietnam but this one was excellently executed. It comes with the standard rice, yolky fried egg, and side of raw tomato, cucumber and lettuce.
Vietnamese beef noodle soup (#51) ($10.50)
Bbop decided to try out Lou’s pho which comes with beef meatballs and flank steak slices. Sadly, their pho was pretty mediocre. The broth was lacking depth and we both couldn’t pinpoint what they were putting into the broth. If you’ve had good pho, skip here. You’re better off going to Co Do Hue’s. I know, I know, that’s always our comparison but they’re seriously the unbeatable champs when it comes to north side.
Overall, Chef Lou’s Kitchen is worth a try. The menu is a bit concerning as I feel they’re offering too many items and attempting to please too many people. They could easily condense the menu to give it clarity and focus. However, I like that everything is fresh and is done with proper care.
Chef Lou’s Kitchen
15131 – 121 Street