They had me a Charcuterie. I admit I have an affinity for salted and cured meats, or as the French call it, charcuterie. Proper charcuterie is an art form that dates back to the very beginnings of civilization. Unfortunately due to FDA/USDA regulations it is tough to find much in the way of traditional dry cured meats here in the US, thus not many restaurants offer good charcuterie menu options. Luckily Wichita has added two restaurants in the past several months that offer some fairly legitimate charcuterie. The newest of those is Lou’s Charcuteria.
Lou’s is located in the shadow of Intrust Bank Arena directly to the north on Commerce street. This makes getting to the restaurant and finding parking somewhat tricky, especially when there is an event at IBA. The interior at Lou’s is quite impressive, although as I understand not much was changed from the previous tenets, Walkers Bar and Grill. Ample use of wood gives it a warm feel and a tall table in the center makes it a good place for mingling over appetizers and drinks. There was also a lovely picture of a pig on the wall and I strongly approve of pig based decor.
Our visit here was later in the evening and a KU game just happened to be winding down. For that reason we had to endure Brent Musburger blaring over the speaker system at a ridiculously loud level. After the game I figured there might be a respite in the noise level, but they just turned on a Pandora station although not as loud. I assume the music isn’t typically that loud and will just write it off as a consequence of dining at 10 pm on a Saturday.
They were running a tapas bar that night, but unfortunately were in the process of shutting it down so our waitress suggested ordering off the menu. Like any good beer snob I had to peruse the drink menu first of all and was pleased to find a nice offering of beers both on tap and bottled. As far as the food menu goes, it is short and sweet. They have several sandwiches to choose from as well as two charcuterie board options. To get the best of both worlds we went with their most popular sandwich, the Venezuelan roasted pork and a charcuterie board.
The roasted pork sandwich featured pork shoulder, chimichurri sauce, cojita cheese, and garlic aioli on a nice crusty baguette. The pork was tender and succulent with mild seasoning, but it seemed like the aioli dominated too much. I would have liked more chimichurri sauce to bring out additional flavors. The chips that were served with the sandwich were nothing special, but edible. The charcuterie board was an impressive array of bread, crackers, cured meats, pickled vegetables, olives, and various sauces. The meats were a mix of fresh, wet cured, and dry cured pork based sausages and ham. Both hams are made in-house and were quite good. The hard cured chorizo was a delightful melding of meat and fat. The only disappointment was the slightly overcooked fresh sausage. The homemade coarse mustard went very well with the meats as did the pickled onion and peppers. The deviled eggs were a nice touch and much better than most. Oddly the only thing missing from the plate was a selection cheeses, which are usually a staple of charcuterie boards. Perhaps the chef was all cheesed out after a long shift.
I was impressed with the quality and uniqueness of the food at Lou’s. Although the menu is small it allows them to focus on putting out good products. The atmosphere is perfect for an evening out with a large group or pre-partying before the next [insert any country artist] show at The IBA. I hope that Lou’s location won’t be a detriment and that Wichitans will flock there for their delicious cured meats.