Louro has been open in Greenwich Village for over a year now and is still surprising me with its robust flavors every time I go. Sometimes I’ll be sitting at a happy hour spot closer to home, and I’ll think, “Yeah, I could be at Louro right now instead, but what’s the big deal?” And then I’ll actually go to Louro and am like, “Why have I been wasting my life?” Chef Santos has let me come photograph his food several times, so I didn't Louro a score so as to avoid looking like a shill, but I thought you might want to see some photos of what's going on there right now.
• Whiskey in the Jar: Irish whiskey, grapefruit, ginger, spices
I went with five of my friends, so we basically ate the entire menu. But first we started with many, many rounds of half-price happy hour drinks. This was the table favourite.
• beef tartare, caraway sauce
Off the menu and so bright with those pickled onions but then also earthy and pungent with that caraway spread. Caraway isn’t the first spice I think of for anything, but I loved seeing Chef Santos use it in a non-Indian, non-Middle-Eastern context.
• heirloom carrot salad, miso
This was a special the night we visited, and THANK GOD, because this is my favourite thing at Louro. I encouraged my entire table to get it, and everyone outright ignored me. Not that I blame anyone for scoffing at carrots, but these are not only incredibly visually beautiful but also unexpectedly Asian-flavored. I never even thought I cared that much about miso until I had this dish for the first time. And then there’s the rice wine vinegar, the mirin, and the scallions. Incredibly, the New York Times just published the recipe for the heirloom carrot salad this week, so now I’m going to be eating it every night at home when I can’t get to Louro. Every night, I said.
• bone marrow, mussels, red curry, crisps
This had the same flavor as a big hunk of steak but melted in my mouth even more.
• piri piri shrimp
My other favourite thing at Louro. The chili is so surprisingly spicy that I feel like its name is an onomatopoeia you might see in a comic book. “Piri piri!” the superhero shouts as he delivers a one-two punch to the villain’s gut. It somehow manages to not overwhelm the shrimp at the same time, though. It seems so simple, but it’s so simply perfect.
• smoked tomato soup, pork grilled cheese
I had made grilled cheese the night before for my roommate/landlord/former co-worker/boyfriend, so I asked him how mine compared to this one, and he had to very, very gently put me down.
• lobster larb salad, chopped lobster, bibb lettuce, thai dressing, cilantro, peanuts
I’m not sure what to think of this. The common thinking with lobster is that it should be broken down as little as possible, right? But we were Googling larb as we were looking at the menu, and it’s a minced meat salad that’s apparently the national dish of Laos. So I guess you either mince the lobster or you’re not making larb. This was super, super spicy and herbaceous.
• pork & beef ragu, anson mills polenta, Parmesan
Wish I had tried this.
• biscuits & gravy, soft poached duck egg, duck sausage, gravy
Really, really wish I had tried this.
• gnocchi Parisienne, cipollinis, wild mushrooms, Parmesan, thyme butter
I only tried one of these little pillows, but I’m convinced they were more gnudi than gnocchi. All cheese, not enough flour to even matter. Just how I like it.
• octopus bolognese: hand cut tagliatelle, goose pancetta, parmesan
It’s been on the Louro menu for as long as I can remember, and for good reason. It’s like beef bolognese but with a little chew from the octopus and then the deep flavor of the bacon as contrast.
• lobster lasagna
I love Chef Santos for throwing us a little extra lobster here and there, but most of us thought that this lasagna was so good on its own that the lobster didn’t even matter. Take THAT, ocean.
• kibby goat & falafel, cucumber, parsley, lemon mint cream
I actually met this dish one afternoon while taking pictures for the Louro website and haven’t stopped eating it since. The combination of the super-light cucumber and rich goat is too much for me to resist, and I could have the minty sauce on just about anything, including my own hand.
• The Hemingway: key lime curd, gingersnap crumble, vanilla ice cream, toasted meringue
I only tried a bit of the lime curd, and it was not shy about the lime.
• A Walk in the Woods: pine needle & porcini ice creams, pine nut puree, maple “dirt”, Maine blueberries
I needed to have this just for the pine needle ice cream, and it was everything I wanted it to be. i.e. like chewing on a forest. The maple dirt was crunchy and sweet and as if I’d stuck a tap on a crispy tree. I love that a restaurant that’s partly food the way your mama makes it can also put out a dish this wild.
All of the photos in context are here: http://www.donuts4dinner.com/2014/01/....