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Eating in restaurants is especially satisfying when a restaurant presents itself in a humble and unsuspecting way and the nuances and expertise unfold as you progress through a hopefully leisurely dinner. I am happy to report that Louro took my breath away. Upon tasting the Roast Suckling Pig at a recent dinner, I was almost speechless and could only just say, ‘Wow!’ Subsequently, upon learning more about Louro, I understand that appearing as wonderful as it does comes from a great amount of passion about food and professionals making it all work, and it does!

Louro means bay leaf in Portuguese and David Santos, the chef and partner in the restaurant, is the son of Portuguese immigrants and grew up with a great lovefor baseball and food. He has nurtured bay leaves, proudly grown by his uncle France, and shared their herbaceous nuance with his family. He went to cooking school and earned stripes at Bouley and Per Se amongst other places. Santos has traveled, spending time in France and beyond, and dreamed of his own restaurant with his own take on what he likes to call “new American food.” The kitchen is very creative but in a way that does not seem concocted and in addition prides itself on making as much as possible in-house, including the almond milk that is included with the roast suckling pig, to kimchi, and chorizo.

The menu is modern and reminds me slightly of L’Artusi’s menu, divided into bites, small plates, eggs and grain, and large plates. It is the perfect menu to graze through if you are the type that likes to share, which I think is what food is about. However, I know there are people who like to be territorial when choosing and you will not go wrong with almost anything but I encourage to reach and taste many plates. My first night dinner there included my friend Linda who loves to share yet can be a bit fussy; she was also won over especially with their desserts which she claims not to like. We started with Heirloom Tomato Salad, Seafood Fritters, and PiriPiri Shrimp, all small plates and priced at $7 and $8. The tomato salad, a great dish often deemed a bit cliché and often served in a very similar way that makes you think I should just go to the farmer’s market and make this myself, was very different and even more wonderful along with being a very generous bite. The shrimp was one of the weaker dishes, very well cooked but the shrimp had the iodine flavor that often turns me off shrimp. Next, we had two small plates, Bone Marrow and Roasted Mushrooms, $8 and $16 respectively. It was completely different, creative and something to write home about; the bone marrow came with mussels and curry and the mushrooms with garlic puree. Our next course was a Poached Egg with summer squash, arugula pistou and tempura greens and Truffled Pork with Clams on polenta and truffle cream. Again,both were unique and wonderful.

We finished our tasting tour with the Suckling Pig ($29), which included piquillo peppers, charred onion, new potatoes and their homemade Almond Milk Jus; for me, those components together were poetry. We did manage to find room for generous desserts of Beignets with a peanut butter sauce and toasted chocolate marshmallow ice cream and “Smores” which were somewhat deconstructed leaving you completely satisfied ($8 each).

Our server could not have been more helpful. A formidable bar as you walk in is serious about drinks along with a carefully selected wine list that includes many by the glassstarting at $9. David Santos has two partners in this project, KiwonStanden and Didier Palange, both colleagues from Bouley, the latter overseeing the wine list.

If this is not enough, Louro does have special themed menu nights that include . These evenings have a following that started before Louro when David Santos was doing supper club dinners in his apartment and some of those followers helped “kickstart” Louro. They also have a $65 tasting menualways available. On a subsequent evening, I did go back for a tasting dinner with a total of six people and we were all enveloped by David Santos later joined us

Their location, recently home to Low Country Foods, at 142 West 10thStreet is very convenient yet slightly off the beaten track and not so easy to find…between Waverly Place and Greenwich Ave but is definitely worth seeking out. It works for both a very casual, less expensive meal to a tasting tour that left me impressed with the innovative food that was presented without airs, leaving me wanting to come back and experience more very soon!

Louro 142 West 10th Street/ 212 206-0606

www.LouroNYC.com

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