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Luzia's

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Outside of Luzia's, a sign proclaimed grilled sardines as a special dish. Five arrived on a platter: overgrilled, redolent of lighter fluid smell, hard and crumbly, bones brittle, cute decorative lemon slices useless in adding flavor (unsqueezable), tired mashed potatoes, a soup of winter squash tasting like pureed or canned squash warmed up with milk. . .
The bill was nearly $30 (with a delicious glass of red wine). Couldn't they have made a discount for sardines they were anxious to get rid of and not proclaim them special?

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  1. I've had the grilled sardines at Luzia's as well.

    Either you hit a very bad day, or I hit a very good one. When I had them, they were redolent of fish, not lighter fluid; I agree that they were a little over cooked for my taste (does anyone here know if this is Portugeese style, or just the chef, or just a mistake?)but the overdonenesss didn't spoil the dish at all.

    I do agree that they seemed overpriced.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      you're both right. Luzia's makes some of the best food in town...WHEN Luzia (and not an underling) has cooked your food, and when she's in the right mood, and when the restaurant hasn't over or under stocked provisions.

      It's a crap shoot, and--as you both pointed out--a pretty expensive one.

      I avoid.

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Two suggestions:

        1. Go to Luzia's at lunch time. Unless something unusual is happening, Luzia will be there, and the restaurant is seldom busy. Sometimes there are specials, such as lobster salad or shrimp salad, that are delightful, if not particularly Portuguese, featuring fresh greens, a light dressing, and plenty of green herbs.

        2. If you don't see something you want, talk to Luzia or the waiter. She's more than willing to whip up something off the menu (in one case, a terrific pasta for a friend).

        Some of the dishes at Luzia's are simply dull, in my opinion, and a couple misconceived, but I haven't experienced the inconsistency you cite. Old reliables like the cataplana, duck in bourbon sauce, and brisket are remarkably consistent, in my experience.

        DF

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          "I haven't experienced the inconsistency you cite. Old reliables like the cataplana, duck in bourbon sauce, and brisket are remarkably consistent, in my experience"

          those are indeed the best dishes, and nobody loves them more than I when they're good. But regarding inconsistency--with those dishes or any others--we're gonna have to agree to disagree.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Sure there are good dishes to be had there, but why, why permit elderly sardines (which retail fresh for $4 a pound) to be a daily special at $16 and allow such ruinous cooking to take place? Luzia was there when I ate. Enough is enough.

            1. re: Allan Evans

              Not sure why you addressed that to me...you're preaching to the disgruntled!

              also, FWIW, Luzia is ALWAYS there. That doesn't mean she cooked your meal. There are others in the kitchen.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                the best alternative is to hop the PATH or drive over to the Ironbound section of Newark. Anyone of dozens of portugese places are better and more inexpensive. Also try Brasilia my favorite Brazilian BBQ

                1. re: Jim T.

                  not to be too cantankerous, but I'm not a fan of Newark for Portuguese restaurants. Great nabe, great bakeries, some good secret non-Portuguese food, but the restaurant food is tired to my taste. Better: Mineola, Long Island. See my entry on "what jim had for dinner" about the area