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Dec 23, 2012 09:23 PM

Louro -- New David Santos Restaurant in West Village

As far as I know, no one has written a first-person report about Louro, on West 10th St. For fans of David's food, this is an exciting development.

I'm happy to say that the spirit of the private Um Segredo dinners lives on in the restaurant. Louro is offering fine-dining style food in informal surroundings. No dress code. No tablecloths. No sommeliers. Warm and enthusiastic service.

The menu is divided into four parts: Bites; Small Plates; Eggs and Grains; and Large Plates. After two visits, I'd say that some of the "bites" are as big and filling as all but the entrees. And don't think of Large Plates as Carmine's-sized platters -- they are "normal" entree-sized offerings.

Some of the highlights we've tried: seafood fritters; sweetbreads (chicken fried, with collards gravy and spiced honey); striped bass crudo; gnocchi with truffle cream, cipollinis and crispy onions; poached duck egg with brown butter and sage atop polenta; and the baked egg with chorizo and tomatos.

There are two seasonal specials that I strongly recommend. A crudo of scallops with grapefruit and truffle oil that's every bit on a par with the superb scallop crudo at Marea (and a much bigger portion) and an insanely rich and delicious parsnip soup. I warn you, though: the parsnip soup is filling. But so worth it. The crudo may not be available for long.

The regular menu can be found here:

On another forum, some people are having a tough time categorizing Louro. They love the taste of the food, but the menu seems disconnected to them. But to me, the eclectic menu plays to Santos's strengths and proclivities. The food is elegant and beautifully plated, but the ambiance is informal and approachable. His Portuguese background is discernible, but it's not a Portuguese restaurant. My take: for the first time in his career, Santos has full artistic control of his kitchen, and he's cooking what he wants, inspired by the best ingredients available at that time.

On Monday nights, Santos is offering fixed-price dinners similar to what he was doing in his apartment on Roosevelt Island. Upcoming special events including a tribute to Elvis on January 7 (the King's birthday), a New Jersey Italian meal done DS-style, and a Portuguese winter dinner on the 28th.

I'd be curious about what other Chowhounds think, and especially which of the large plates they like or dislike. I just realized I haven't ordered any of the large plates for myself.

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  1. Any wines/liquor on the menu?

    8 Replies
    1. re: RCC

      Yes. Louro has a moderately priced wine list. I've been on a cocktail kick lately, and Louro has a craft cocktail list (along with full bar) and some of them have been terrific, many of them featuring Bittermens' bitters and extracts. You can also eat dinner at the bar or just order a bite or two.

      I forgot to mention that Louro also offers a $65 tasting menu every night. I'm not sure what is included.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Thanks. We've enjoyed his private dinners that were byob and don't see any web information regarding wines and cocktails at Louro.

        1. re: RCC

          Yes, the website isn't exactly state of the art. I assume that the wine and cocktail list will get up eventually, along with more info about the tasting menus.

        2. re: Dave Feldman

          Any favorite cocktails? Just found out the list is done by Mayur Subbarao (Dram, Amor y Amargo, etc) who is one of the co-founders of Bittermans Spirits.

          1. re: kathryn

            I had the Necromancer, which involves absinthe, elderflower, lemon, juniper and was delicious.
            My wife had a bourbon drink with port and figs which was also yummy.
            The cocktails were of very high quality and "only" about $12,

            1. re: kathryn

              I met Mayur on one of the first nights Louru, and he was kind enough to spend quite a bit of time with us, discussing the production of bitters, what shrubs were, etc. My favorite cocktail is less exotic than some: the Royal Ave., which contains bourbon, Campari, grapefruit bitters, and sweet and dry vermouth. The sharpness of the cocktail cuts the richness of many of the dishes.

              1. re: kathryn

                Killing Time (or Thyme, I can't remember)

            2. re: RCC

              We've been to Louro twice: once for a Monday evening supper club dinner and once for a meal. Both were every bit as extraordinary as the Um Segredo dinners were. Agree with others' assessments of the highlights. On our second visit, we came as a group of 7 and turned David loose to provide our table with an assortment of starters. We were thrilled with the result and I might suggest others do the same when they go with a group. We found the result on our check at the end of the evening to be both fair and generous.

              The wine list is a refreshing mix of about 75% old world bottles and 25% new world. There's something for everyone, but the not-so-hidden gem, bargain priced at $51, is a silky Priorat. Hope Louro's distributor has an endless supply of this silky, garnacha (Grenache)-based Spanish blend.

              There's also a cocktail list for those so inclined.

              Louro is a delightful addition to the West Village dining scene.

            3. Thanks so much for the report! It doesn't look nearly as expensive as I was thinking it would be, and some of the dishes even look reasonably OK for a low-carb meal.

              1. I loved the seafood fritters with smoked paprika aioli, poached duck egg with polenta, and the cavatelli with artichokes, eggplant and parmigiano.

                The pork loin with crispy pork belly and baked beans was *almost* great - flavorful beans for sure, but the pork itself, while perfectly cooked, was oddly one dimensional. I guess I was missing the salt and garlic.

                I did enjoy the peanut butter pain perdu with grape jelly and toasted marshmallow ice cream. The restaurant has a warm, lively vibe and service was tops. I plan to return soon.

                1. Totally agree Dave. I've been twice and Louro is a cozy unpretentious restaurant serving great food. I love the menu and how there's something for everyone: sit at the bar with a cocktail and grab a couple of bites, or choose a few small and larger plates for dinner.

                  I love the seafood fritters, spaetzle with boar sausage, crudo and the dourade. The service is friendly and prices very reasonable. Can't wait to try the Nossa Mesa Monday night supper club!

                  1. Anyone know the price points/range for the Monday night tastings?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: deepfry7

                      Around $65-75 for 5 courses (and it's BYOB) - the higher end when it's more seafood focused.