Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lou Henri: The other Iowa City breakfast tradition

UPDATE: Lou Henri has since closed.

Back in the early nineties I had an acquaintance whom I’d accompany to Iowa City for Socialist Party gatherings, research at the University library, or the odd visit to John’s Grocery for beer while returning from minor league baseball games in such exotic places as Clinton, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport.

For breakfast we did not join the queue at The Hamburg, as most in- and out-of-towners tend to do, but instead opted for black-bean laced burritos from a diner located just east of downtown.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I sought out this old familiar breakfast and found the source: Lou Henri at the corner of Iowa and Dodge.

Scanning the menu for a dish close to my previous experiences, I settled on the Huevos Quesadilla. In actuality it’s a big ole breakfast burrito.

Filled with cheddar, wild rice, beans and eggs, the flavors are simple, even a tad bland. But when topped with a superbly chunky and zippy house salsa, and a garnish of scallions, the taste factor blossoms.

The rustic housemade salsa boasts a nice red chili heat, not unlike a good enchilada sauce. Still not enough heat? The plethora of bottled hot sauces on each table can fix that.

Available in small and regular sizes, the "regular" Huevos Quesadilla will fill you up good.

The chunky, skin-on, salt and pepper seasoned home fries at Lou Henri are as equally rustic as the salsa, and taste great on their own. But decadence comes to mind if you ask for a side of “Lou's sauce” – a combo of mayo, sour cream and the house salsa – and spoon that over the fries.

The next time you pull up to The Hamburg for breakfast and find the ubiquitous line waiting outside to be seated, ditch that scene and drive the eight blocks to Lou Henri for an equally satisfying meal.

Lou Henri's on Urbanspoon

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