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“Back to the future for bad food”
Review of Lou's Village - CLOSED

Lou's Village
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
San Jose, CA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Back to the future for bad food”
Reviewed May 17, 2013

So, if you are new to the area, let me give you the history of this restaurant.
Lou's Village originally opened it's doors in the mid-1900's on San Carlos Boulevard (about five miles from it's current Lincoln Avenue location) and it was the HOT SPOT for a steak and lobster dinner and a salty dog!
Well, that lasted until about 10-15 years ago when they had to close their doors. Times were a changing!
About six months ago the "new" Lou's Village opened it's doors on the corner or Lincoln Ave. and Willow Ave. in downtown Willow Glen and when I walked in I SWEAR the same diners who were sitting at their tables were the same people I saw as a child when my parents took us there for dinner.
Another flashback, the menu. It's just too old school for me.
The restaurant is trying to be too much for what it really is. It's acting like a New York City Steakhouse in our sweet little downtown Willow Glen where you see more strollers than anywhere else.
When we dined, the server was so "stuffy". The French Laundry is more casual! LOL! To give you an idea of what I am trying to say, it's like Lou's Village is trying to be The Golden Gate Bridge, but it's more like The Dumbarton Bridge.
If they would modernize the menu, relax, not be so rude (when I believe they think they are being socially elite and proper, but not pulling it off), liven up the atmosphere (dim lighting is not necessary in the afternoon) and lower their prices at lunch I might go back.
If you like an old school menu, one your great-grandparents would just LOVE, then this is the place for you! Welcome back to 1973!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank tcullen1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

26 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    7
    14
    3
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
california
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Yum and Wow”
Reviewed April 25, 2013 via mobile

Food was great. I went with three friends for lunch and we all loved our food. Of course sea food is the best thing here but everything was good. They are still working out some service issues and it is too congested but other wise it is great. The staff was friendly and helpful just a bit slow. The look of the place is great too. There is a nice little bar but no happy hour as of yet. Cute little outdoor are to eat. Make a trip to Willow Glen and enjoy the food.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank mombmw1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“It's good to have Lou's back”
Reviewed April 13, 2013

The seafood, pastas, and steaks are a tradition at Lou's that went back into the 1940's or so and when they closed their original location in San Jose it was a loss for everyone. Now they are back in new quarters in the heart of Willow Glen and we have been back three times; two for dinner and one for lunch. The same quality service and solid food offerings that they provided for what seems like centuries is still there; only in a much smaller venue.

I'm a pasta fiend, so their pasta with shrimp, scallops, and crab is always one of my favorites. My wife usually goes for a lamb, beef, or pork special and they are special enough to come back. The only thing that limits Lou's now is the size. It tends to get a little crowded and I sometimes wish they were less popular so we could get a little more elbow room.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AndyP53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level 6 Contributor
256 reviews
164 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Some Are Entrees Superb...Some Miss the Mark”
Reviewed February 26, 2013

Four of us enjoyed dinner on a Monday night at Lou’s Village…restaurant was busy, bar had customers and reservations were necessary. Waitress greeted us with a long list of what was not available that evening…not the greatest way to start a dining experience.

Unlike the original Lou’s Village, we had inconsistent entrees. There were four people and four different entrees…two ‘home runs’ and two ‘foul balls’. The ‘home runs’ were the Hawaiian Ahi (one of the best ever enjoyed anywhere) and the Linguini and Clams (consumed with a smile). The ‘foul balls’ were the Seafood Sauté (superb ingredients smothered with an innocuous white sauce that detracted from the overall dish) and the Large Baja Prawns (which were not all that large and nothing special).

Parking is limited in the evening and handicap parking on the second level is a joke since access to the elevator is restricted. So be sure to leave anyone with disabilities at the front door before you park your car.

So would we go again…yes but we will be more particular is what we order.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank HikingLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“New life for an old SJ standby”
Reviewed February 21, 2013

The original Lou's Village opened in San Jose in 1946. There was live entertainment (nationally known acts, as well as locals) for a long time. The restaurant had dozens of photos of stars and politicians on the walls, and several large fish tanks. It also had huge banquet rooms and a large parking lot. Eventually the land became more valuable than the restaurant operation, so the grandkids-in-law of the founders sold it all to a home builder. For several years, no Lou's Village.

It has re-opened in the Willow Glen area of San Jose on a smaller scale, with the Muller brothers still at the helm The menu seems smaller, but still emphasizes seafood--fresh when available.

On one visit I started with a Caesar salad (anchovies on request). Hearts of romaine, some croutons, and a gloppy, mayonnaise-dominant dressing. (6.95, large portion). Dressing needs work. The seafood saute, on the other hand, was a delight. Two large seared scallops, three large prawns, a fistful of lobster meat (unfortunately that seemed overly watery and tasteless, as if it had be frozen, thawed, and refrozen and re-thawed), rice, and still crunchy sauteed vegetables.The presentation was home style. All that for only $24.95.

Another visit started with an excellent Manhattan clam chowder (they also serve Boston clam chowder) and wild Salmon with excellent roasted gold fingerling potatoes and vegetables. Sadly, the salmon was a bit overcooked. A friend had the Maine lobster roll, which comes with fries. He loved it.

The calamari appetizer features baby calamari, dipped and quick fried, with both bodies and tentacles, at only $10.95. They serve chilled half ($12.95) or whole ($22.95) Dungeness crab. Best to have that when it's crab season in The SF Bay Area, so you get it fresh. Their lobster is live, from Maine; and also have a California lobster dish. There are pastas, steaks, and chicken on the menu as well.

The varied wine list is a bit small, with the by the bottle selections of better quality than the by the glass offerings, several of which are on tap, a growing phenomenon in SJ.. Bottle prices about 2X retail.

When you eat at the bar, you get a close up view of the 500 gallon fish tank above you. The back wall of the tank looks like a coral reef. I love watching the fish--it's almost hypnotic. Unfortunately, the bartender on two occasions clearly wasn't keen on being a food server. He had little concept or interest in the timing of getting the food courses to us. They need to either train him on food service, or get a food runner to deliver bar food orders. They haven't been open long, so I'm sure the owners will work out the minor kinks in bar service.

The servers at the tables are all friendly, professional, well groomed, and efficient. You're better off sitting there for better service , even though the fish tank is farther away, and you can't see the two flat panel TVs that flank the bar. I'd still sit at the bar if I came alone.

Lou's website gives a short history, and some photos of the original location, its people, and regular customers, and prices are shown on the website menu.

Lou's remains a destination worth the drive. Leave a little extra time to find parking though, since the residents of Willow Glen mostly hate cars and traffic and won't allow a couple of multi-story parking garages along the Lincoln Avenue shopping district to accommodate people who live too far away to walk. The building has a garage, but it often fills up.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank John O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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