First Look: Brooklyn's French Louie
Named after a turn-of-the-century French-Canadian trapper and folk-hero, French Louie is the latest Brooklyn restaurant from restaurateur Doug Crowell and chef Ryan Angulo (above, from left) - the team that turned Buttermilk Channel into a brownstone Brooklyn standby (And a favorite of Jay-Z and Beyonce). Unlike their first restaurant - which is in remote BQE-adjacent part of Carroll Gardens - French Louie (which opens tonight) has a prime location on Atlantic Avenue, just one block off Smith Street.
Also new: The style of food. Where Buttermilk Channel serves "American food with French influences," notes Crowell, "This is the opposite, it's French bistro food with some slight American influences." So, the menu includes foie gras terrine and a very reasonable $20 bavette steak frites, but also French-Louisiana dishes like a pan-fried skate with dirty rice and crab bisque, and the escargot "marchand de vin," which pairs an extremely French protein (snails) with two distinctly American ones - grits and bacon. (One big similarity to Buttermilk Channel: No reservations for small parties, so be prepared to wait.)
Most nights at Buttermilk Channel, it seems like most of the diners are eating either the fried chicken and cheddar waffles or the duck meatloaf. Angulo isn't ready to guess what will become French Louie's signature dish, but he's hoping it'll an unusual one: the smoked sardines with dulse seaweed butter and rye toasts. "It sounds like an odd combination," he says. "but it is just scary good." Read on to learn more about French Louie.