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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: http://louronyc.com/1202_Louro.pdf

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.

                    2. Four of us were there last week (Wed) and had a very, very good meal. They allowed 3 of the table to get the fixed price meal and the 4th (me) to order lots of other things from the menu. Since I tend toward gluttony, I ordered 5 dishes, not including dessert. Since Dave knows I tend toward gluttony (and that some sharing would be (unfortunately) required), he added more food by giving me the amuse and dessert that the others got as well. But, in the interest of research, I managed to get thru it all without problem. Unfortunately, I dont have time to do a full justice write up. Suffice it to say that we agree with all the accolades and that Chef Santos will hopefully have, in this new place, the home he (and his cooking) have deserved and needed. We'll be going back... that's for sure.

                      edited to add: I have a couple of more minutes than I thought so I figure I might as well answer Dave F.'s question: both the gnocchi romana & the poached duck egg were excellent, while the plantain was fine & the sweetbreads tasty, albeit a little too sweet for my taste (with honey). The standout for me was the dourade, a dish I would be happy with in any setting, including Le Bernadin.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Steve R

                        Yeah, that dourade was great...the pickled pumpkin underneath was a nice contrast to the mildness of the fish.

                      2. One more great piece of news about Louro: David is lining up winemaker dinners with some award winning West Coast winemakers. The first one, with a Washington State producer, is, I believe, fully booked. But, if you are a Louro or Um Segredo regular, let David know of your interest in these semi-private events.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: famdoc

                          And, just to add another comment about the Monday night dinners, I want to point out that the one on Jan21st is Eyetalian ("Sopranos Dinner") and should be a hoot. Anyone who goes, stop by our table and say hello.

                        2. Wow, it sounds fantastic. I;ve read about him on Eater, besides his Roosevelt Island apartment dinners, he has experience at Bouley, Per Se, and more. To think I walked by this great place while searching for Chez Sardine. I should have gone to Louro for sure

                          1. One more vote for Louro - checked it out last night. Everything was casual about the place except the presentation and quality of the food.

                            We tried a number of dishes - the kampachi crudo, poached duck egg and duck entree with rice and beans were all standouts, although everything was good.

                            David came over to our table and chatted with us for a bit (we'd never met him before). He was very friendly and clearly passionate about what he's doing.

                            I want this place to succeed, and suspect it will - although I fear when the inevitable times review comes out, it's going to go from semi-hidden gem to impossible to get a table overnight.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: lexismore

                              Went to the Monday night pig butchering event. It was quite interesting, and the fellow from Pittsburgh who owns Cure, knows his stuff. He cut that pig down very professionally. His sausage, and dried sausage was excellent. The tenderloin they served was cold. It should have been hot. I guess too many people waiting to be served at the same time.
                              I want to especially go back for the Portuguese dinner. Santos is Portuguese and he says it will be a fantastic meal.
                              The chef at Brooklyn Fare, worked for this owner, in the same space , when it was called Bar Blanc. So he knows how to find talented chefs.

                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                And I had leftovers on Tuesday night. The charcuterie was a special appetizer. Good stuff.

                                I believe that Dave Santos worked with his co-owners at Bouley, so they go back a long way.

                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                  You're right Santos did work there too. Cesar worked their as well, then to Bar Blanc. Glad you were there to enjoy that charcuterie. It was good.

                            2. I was looking at the menu this morning and again, just now, and I think they literally just refreshed it with a bunch of new dishes, as the dorade is no longer listed. Nor is the egg/chorizo.
                              http://louronyc.com/Louro_11813_Dinne...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: kathryn

                                They did - looks like their online menu caught up to their actual menu. This is the menu they had when I went this past Sunday (the 13th).

                                The one they had posted online when I went was out of date.

                                1. re: lexismore

                                  Yep, it's a different menu than I had three nights ago. But I do see a pattern. Items are specials or in the tasting menu and then get added to the regular menu. My table loved the pumpkin salad and we told Dave so, and he informs us he is going to swap out pumpkin for sweet potato, and I see he is a man of his word. The scallop crudo I raved about got on the regular menu and now it is off, replaced by the terrific hamachi.

                                  I really admire Santos for his willingness to take off even some of the most popular dishes from the regular menu. He told me he was "tired of looking at the fry bread" and I see that has been relegated to Siberia, too.

                                  We weren't wild about the new orechiette with escarole and cannelini -- kind of blah. It's the first thing I've tried at Louro that I haven't liked. I'll bet it has been improved already.

                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                    If you have not yet made any plans for this evening, Louro is doing the first of what it hopes will be a series of winemaker dinners with Mike Wade of Fielding Hill Winery in Washington State. Mike produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and a Bordeaux-style blend. He's won quite a few regional wine awards and consistently gets 90+ points from Wine Spectator and other publications. David Santos is creating a menu to pair with Mike's wines (the menu is on the Louro web site) and a few seats remain.

                              2. My partner and I went the other night and were extremely impressed with most of the food, along with the ambience and service. Tried the scallop crudo in spicy green sauce topped with chopped macadamias, which was a special, the gnocchi, the duck and the snapper. We were also comped a pasta with octopus bolognese. For dessert we ordered lemon cake and were comped a wonderful peanut butter bread pudding. The only slight disappointment was the duck, which was too rare and therefore chewy. IMO duck should be medium rare to have better flavor and texture. Everything else was absolutely stellar. Good wine list, and I noticed they have interesting beers. There are so many tempting dishes, I expect we will return often.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: rrems

                                  I neglected to mention the bread and butter. Both addictive. We were told the butter contains pork. That is an understatement. It is rich with pork and a bit spicy, a superb spread.

                                  1. re: rrems

                                    They call it "Portuguese butter" it is made with lard and is amazingly delicious

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                      And sometimes DS makes a butter with duck and pork fat and I like that even better.

                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                        The butter he served, the night the pig was butchered was unbelievable. Better than the usual one he serves. Not sure what was in it, but the pork fat was quite evident.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          I'll bet it was the duck/pork butter, as he served it the next night when I was there.

                                      2. re: foodwhisperer

                                        When the busboy gave us our bread/butter basket, he actually called it a "dipping sauce" (or something like that) and told us it had pork in it. I thought it was kind of weird, though, and wasn't a fan of the taste or texture.

                                    2. re: rrems

                                      rrems,

                                      What was the "octopus bolognese"?

                                      1. re: barberinibee

                                        A "bolognese" sauce made with chopped octopus.

                                      2. re: rrems

                                        Thanks to all who recommended this lovely place.
                                        We went last night and had a delicious meal. Started with an order of the seasonal pickles, accompanied by the seafood fritters with smoked paprika aioli. The fritters were airy, crisp, and with not a hint of grease. We then had a grilled scallop appetizer with an outer char and innards just a touch beyond sashimi, and the uni/crispy pork belly appetizer (with a nice bite and crunch from yuzu/shiso/pickled cabbage), our next set of dishes were the duck egg with polenta, brown butter, and sage (absolute eyes-closed comfort food) and the lobster risotto with Himalayan rice and bouillabaisse foam, which combined a tiny bit of crunch from the rice with a really creamy lobster flavor. Finally, we had the short ribs with potato cake and carrot puree, which was melt-in-your-mouth, and seemed to have had much of the short rib fat removed so the flavor was sharp and clear. No complaints about any of the dishes. And the bread with the lard-laced butter was fantastic, and generously and repeatedly offered.
                                        We also had several glasses of wine, as well as dessert, and came in at $200 for 2 people, including tip. Pretty damned good for this level of dining. We will return often.

                                      3. Had a fabulous dinner here Saturday night. With a party of four we had the pickles, mushroom puff pastry, gnocchi, hamachi, a special greens dish, the short rib, monkfish, octopus bolognese and four of the five desserts and thoroughly enjoyed every single dish (the octopus, short ribs and gnocchi and peanut butter desserts were probably the standouts). Highly recommend it and looking forward to going to one of the Monday night Nossa Mesa dinners!

                                        1. Going this weekend, sounds like around 6 dishes is a good number for two people?

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            Yes that sounds about right. Don't miss the gnocchi!

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              The waitstaff were very good with portion-size issues. You definitely shouldn't get more than 1 large plate, but we had about 6 of the various appetizers/snacks/small plates. Some are much more filling than others; our waiter gave excellent guidance. Also, if you really get into the cocktails and don't want to get a whole bottle of wine, they have a very good by-the-glass selection.

                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                I recommend going with the tasting menu

                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                  They explained it to us that the first 3 columns (bites, small plates and eggs & grains) should be considered appetizer portions and that they recommend the equivalent of one appetizer and one entree per person. Although I agree with strangemd that not all of the "appetizers" are as filling as others. We ended up with 5 appetizers, 2 main courses plus the octopus bolognese which I think was closer to the main courses than the appetizers and four desserts and we were satiated but could have had more.

                                                  1. re: kathryn

                                                    Most times when I've had the a la carte menu, I've gotten three dishes, with none of them in the entree category, and that has usually worked well. As others have said, the staff is great about making recommendations, and you can order more on the fly.

                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                      We had dinner here last night, with one mis-step, but overall, really good.

                                                      Our waiter was a little over the top friendly (he was the guy who takes off his glasses every single time he talks to a table). Nothing wrong, per se, just his quirky affectations stood out.

                                                      The piri piri shrimp were awesome -- juicy and plump and a little spicy. The brussels sprouts salad was also good. Nothing terribly exciting but we liked the pickled onions especially.

                                                      The uni dish was slightly different from the menu, they were substituting manila clams instead. I loved this dish. Perfect de-shelled clams, crispy & fatty pork belly chunks, togarashi cabbage, and shiso sauce. The first pork belly dish I've had that tasted...refreshing! We also really liked the fried egg with violet mustard, bitter greens (baby arugula I think), and tete de cochon. Well thought out and well executed.

                                                      However, the "smoked" sturgeon was too salty, and this was exacerbated by the caviar. This dish was a dud. Probably should have said something but didn't think to at the time (I blame my cocktail).

                                                      The kitchen redeemed itself with our final course -- exquisite red snapper, perfectly cooked with a crispy skin, in coconut thai ginger broth, with shiitakes & bok choy. Perfect. Scraped the bowl clean.

                                                      Too stuffed for dessert, even though they have a dessert specific cocktail list, which is great.

                                                      Speaking of the cocktail list....My Jackson's Delight (bourbon, port, figs, key lime, cinnamon) was actually thick and sweet enough to constitute dessert, perhaps. I couldn't finish it, and found it difficult to drink with dinner. My husband's Arctic Cynar was much better and easier to drink with food--toasted chili-infused rye, cynar, lemon, grapefruit, honey.

                                                      I took photos of the cocktail lists here:
                                                      http://campl.us/dHYBMUafQzY

                                                      1. re: kathryn

                                                        thanks for the review! lots to keep in mind for our dinner coming up in a few weeks. . .cheers for that

                                                      1. re: peter j

                                                        Actually, I think he gave it a two-star review.

                                                        He just gave it a one-star rating.

                                                        1. re: Sneakeater

                                                          It reads a lot like his review of L'Apicio, ie: he raved about most of the food, but then said the entrees fell short. Clearly Wells isn't going to award 2 stars if the entrees are below par. I can't really disagree with that logic. That said, I haven't been to Louro yet, so I have no opinion on the entrees.

                                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                                            Based on two visits I also found the small plates to be better than the entrees (and desserts). I'm sure Louro will thrive but can't really disagree with the one star rating.

                                                            I do plan to return for one of the tasting menus.

                                                            1. re: Riverman500

                                                              Granted, I didn't have any of the dishes Wells had but that wasn't my experience at all. As for entrees I had the short ribs and the monkfish, both of which I thought were really flavorful, well-executed and held my interest throughout.

                                                            2. re: deprofundis

                                                              I had that same reaction -- the review reminded me of the L'Apicio one-star. I love Louro -- it's one of my favorite places to eat in Manhattan. But I'm not going to put down Wells in the sense that I think it is a thoughtful review and I think he "gets" Santos to a large extent. Because of its informality, the ceiling is effectively two stars, which means Wells has essentially 3 slots -- zero, one, or two stars, and if in his mind he finds some significant flaws, a restaurant get two stars. If you are a "fancy" restaurant, you have to plunge like Le Cirque to be demoted to one star. This is a ridiculous system if you tend to think of stars having much to do with actual food quality. I don't blame Wells for this -- he has to work around these constraints that I can't imagine many people who work in the food world can take seriously in anything other than commercial terms.

                                                              Of the restaurants that opened in 2012 that I have tried, my three favorites have been Louro, Rich Table in San Francisco, and Chada Thai and Wine in Las Vegas. All three of these places feature a majority of less than conventional entree-sized plates, and in general I prefer the smaller plates to the entree at all three. So I've done a little thinking about this subject. The usual explanation is that the first bite of anything is the most pleasurable, and fatigue is the answer.

                                                              I'm not sure I buy this explanation. When I'm diving into a big plate of pasta or halfway through a great cheeseburger or a big rice clay pot, I don't get fatigued at all. I think the reason is that what makes a great appetizer is a flavor bomb. As it happens, I ate at Louro tonight, and three of us split several small plates. The piri piri shrimp and Brussels sprouts salad (with addictive pickled onions, Parmesan cheese, and something acidic, lemon juice or vinegar, presumably) were flavor bombs -- irresistible. In its own way, the hamachi woke us up as well with its citrus accents -- absolutely delicious. But would I have wanted a portion three times as big as an entree? Probably not.

                                                              Balance becomes a much bigger issue with an entree, and with balance usually comes with some form of reserve and restraint. Somehow, at fine dining restaurants, we want to be excited to justify the two- or three-stars, but it is easier to excite with a flavor bomb appetizer than an entree. I don't see this effect in most of the restaurants I eat at. I'm not "excited" by the pasta with clam sauce, but after a simple salad or soup, I can eat a lot of it without any feeling of letdown.

                                                              Ironically, although I've eaten at Louro many times, I ordered an entree tonight for the first time (although I've sampled a dozen plus all the entrees at Monday night dinners) and had the same superb red snapper dish that Kathryn ordered. Loved it.

                                                              I really hope that this review doesn't discourage Dave, because he's doing great things at Louro (and it was packed tonight).

                                                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                Suffice it to say, he's very discouraged.

                                                                1. re: famdoc

                                                                  He shouldn't be. The important thing is that Louro is doing very good business and the generally positive NY Times review will only elevate his profile among diners and investors.

                                                                  With luck and planning David Santos could adopt Harold Dieterle's strategy of expanding a one star restaurant (Perilla) with a two star one (Kin Shop - Wells has not yet reviewed The Marrow). Alex Stupak did the same thing with Empellon Taqueria (one star) and then Empellon Cocina (two stars).

                                                                  1. re: fm1963

                                                                    Great point. You should communicate this to him at some point.

                                                                    1. re: famdoc

                                                                      I'm sure that David Santos reads Chowhound. He could start thinking about a second restaurant more closely modelled after Um Segredo and Next, with theme-based tasting menus that change on a regular basis. Even Wells implied that this is Santos's strength.

                                                                      1. re: fm1963

                                                                        He could also create a new concept and/or remodel the existing space and possibly earn a new review. If he wants to, that is. It worked for EMP and Le Bernardin.

                                                                        1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

                                                                          I'm not sure how this relates to Le Bernardin. It has earned four stars each time it has been reviewed, since Gilbert Le Coze and his sister, Maguy, first opened it in 1986. Although it has changed its decor, its rating has remained at 4 stars.

                                                                2. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                  Unless I read it wrong, Wells' review was based on the "theme night" meal. He also gives Santos more ownership credit than is the reality. The major shareholder, Santos worked with at Bouley. They used the major shareholder's space that was another restaurant prior to Louro, for this space. Cesar from Brooklyn Fare worked for the bigger owner ( whose name I can't spell) of Louro at the previous restaurant and also at Brooklyn Fare.
                                                                  Not to take anything away from David Santos,,I just wanted to clarify that Pete Wells is incorrect in his assumption that Santos is the major owner here.
                                                                  Santos' food is exceptional. The gnocchi being my favorite dish,(that's an entree , right?). His Cobia dish was fantastic ,, Pete Wells seems to have underrated Louro based on theme night,,, and I think he should check it out again.

                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                    He couldn't have based it off one visit. The NY Times requires at least three visits for a starred review.

                                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                      Wells visited several times and as he indicated in the review, also spoke to Santos on the phone. The other owners of Louro are Didier Palange and Kiwon Standen -- I have no idea of their relative shares. I believe that Dave worked with both of them at Bouley.

                                                                      The gnocchi is not listed under entrees, but under "Eggs and Grain." But I totally understand why you call it an entree. These aren't tapas-sized plates, and are certainly rich enough to function as entrees when paired with an appetizer(s) or bite(s).

                                                                      I think Wells got it wrong, too, but the star system, as I've ranted elsewhere on this thread, is ridiculous to me, at least if it's supposed to measure the actual quality of the food. The entrees that seemed to bore Wells are as better, to me, than the entrees I've had at Daniel, that did bore me.

                                                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                        Didier is the major shareholder. Cesar from Bklyn Fare and Santos worked for him before at Bouley. Cesar was at the same space that Didier owned called Bar Blanc. Bar Blanc didn't make it, but Cesar went on to get 3 Michelin stars , go figure. Anyway, Santos is an awesome chef. I;m sorry I missed his Portuguese theme night. I heard it was fantastic.
                                                                        Wells, seemed to claim the tasting menu was overpriced. I think the opposite. The tasting menu is half of other tasting menus with twice as much food. The food is fantastic, i.e. gnocchi, cobia,short rib, etc and the portions large. The tasting menu , if anything , is too much food. Louro is a great place. The fact that they are packed every night is no wonder.

                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                          Agree. David will get over his one-star review, will get strong reviews from other food writers and will continue to do great things at Louro. As others have said, the blogosphere is nearly as powerful as Wells and Louro has an excellent reputation among people who blog about food. I'll continue to go to Louro, to both supper club suppers and regular nights. So will all his other customers.

                                                              2. re: peter j

                                                                I'm truly disappointed. Like so many others, I've followed David's progress from Um Segredo to Louro for nearly two years. There are few, if any, flaws in his cooking. That review, from the headline down to the next-to-last paragraph, read like a two-star. I know David is extremely disappointed, as well.
                                                                This is not the first time Pete Wells has withheld a second star, despite finding the cooking two-star worthy.

                                                                1. re: famdoc

                                                                  I too am very disappointed in Wells's review. I don't think it reflects the level of quality, inventiveness, and just deliciousness that was reached in the food served at Louro on my three visits. I went on Saturday with a group of friends and, in between raving about our meal, we were anxious for the Times review to come out and give Louro and Dave some of the accolades they deserve. I'm surprised by the review, but to me, it doesn't change the way I feel about Louro-- it's probably my favorite restaurant in the City right now.

                                                                  1. re: famdoc

                                                                    This is a blessing in disguise. If he gave it two stars, you can bet it would be impossible to get a table in future. It was a very positive review despite the one star.

                                                                2. Dave Santos reacts to his Times review (don't expect any fireworks): http://www.thedailymeal.com/chef-dave...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                    I liked Dave Santos' reaction to the Times review

                                                                  2. Monday, March 11 the "spring lamb dinner" looks unbelievable

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bnowell

                                                                      Thanks for all the great info on this thread! 6 of us are planning to have dinner there next week. Based on what I've read, it seems like a lot of the smaller plates are awesome with a few entrees being good. I've narrowed down a few dishes and just wanted to make sure that I'm not leaving out any must haves! We have a couple of vegetarians in the group, so I've included some veggie dishes. I don't think 10 small plates and 2 mains will be enough so I guess I'll need to add a few more dishes to this. Thanks!

                                                                      1. Seafood fritters
                                                                      2. Poached Duck Egg
                                                                      3. Gnocchi
                                                                      4. Scallop Crudo (Not on the menu) ? Uni
                                                                      5. Octopus Bolognese (Not on the menu) ? Scallops
                                                                      6. Piri Piri Shrimp
                                                                      7. Lobster Risotto
                                                                      8. Brussels Sprout
                                                                      9. Mushroom
                                                                      10. Hamachi

                                                                      1. American Red Snapper
                                                                      2. Short Rib

                                                                      1. Peanut butter pain perdu

                                                                      1. re: indiefoodie

                                                                        Their menu changes all the time, they have daily specials, and also sometimes substitutions. Your detailed plan will end up being overkill I think. By next week, the online menu will be a month old.

                                                                        1. re: kathryn

                                                                          good point and thanks for that. . .we've got a reservation for dinner in about 10 days. . .judging from the posts here, we can't go far wrong even if the menu has changed, although at this point i personally feel like i'm going the path of a few smaller plates rather than an app and an entree. cheers

                                                                        2. re: indiefoodie

                                                                          I've had and enjoyed all the dishes you mention except for the lobster risotto. I think you did well. I agree with Kathryn that it's better to not micromanage your menu and to listen to the specials and the advice of the servers. I just went to the website and see that the octopus bolognese is now on the menu, as is a Spanish mackerel (mackerel and Santos are usually a good combination, but I've never had this preparation). One other suggestion: if the lemon olive oil cake dessert is available, get it!

                                                                          1. re: indiefoodie

                                                                            Enough? you're going to explode. These are not small plates like Brooklyn Fare. These are good size portions.

                                                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                              I think you missed something -- that is only two dishes per person plus one dessert. I predict they will order more.

                                                                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                You are 100% correct.I missed the 6 people part. I thought it was 2 people.

                                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                  Although you get the RIGHT two people and they might be able to finish all those courses! Or maybe it's the wrong two people.

                                                                        3. I actually loved Louro. One of the better meals I've had in recent memory actually. I enjoy their menu approach, which is divided to basically allow the diner to craft their own tasting menu. The food was incredible and the service was very warm and friendly.

                                                                          I thought each course was outstanding and some were among the best dishes I've had in the past year. Pork belly with uni, gnocchi alla romana with crispy onions was a revelation, and the braised short rib was also fantastic. The pb and j pain perdu was one of the best desserts I've had in a restaurant and definitely worth the extra calories.

                                                                          1. Thank you everyone for your suggestions. We ended up having a great meal yesterday. I wouldn't call the food exemplary but it was very good and I would go back any time.

                                                                            The service though, was just phenomenal. Very knowledgeable and friendly servers and the icing on the cake was chef Santos coming out to chat with us, telling us he liked the way we ordered and sending some complimentary dishes. I'm not sure if this was discussed somewhere but I thought that Louro was a very affordable place, esp. considering the kind of food being put out. We had a fair amount of food and it was like $40 pp without tip and tax.

                                                                            On to the food now,

                                                                            1. Seafood fritters - Good
                                                                            2. Tempura Duck Egg - Good
                                                                            3. Gnocchi - Good (I had read a lot about this but I still prefer Torrisi's version)
                                                                            4. Uni - Excellent
                                                                            5. Octopus Bolognese - Excellent (One of the few pastas that I thought could go up against Babbo)
                                                                            6. Piri Piri Shrimp - Good
                                                                            7. House Made Tortellini (Compliments of the chef) - OK
                                                                            8. Brussels Sprout - Good
                                                                            9. Mushroom - Good
                                                                            10. Hamachi - Very good
                                                                            11. Some salad (Compliments of the chef) - I did not try this

                                                                            1. American Red Snapper - Very good
                                                                            2. Short Rib - Good
                                                                            3. Monkfish - Excellent

                                                                            1. Peanut butter pain perdu - Very good
                                                                            2. Lemon Cake - Good
                                                                            3. Rice Pudding - Good
                                                                            4. Poached Pears - Very good

                                                                            They had a couple of specials - a whole Porgy and a Striped Bass head. Since we were already getting a couple of fishes, we opted not to try those but the whole Porgy looked delicious. Thank you once again!

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: indiefoodie

                                                                              What's interesting to me is that the NYT review took issue with Dave's fish entree(s), while you and I and just about everyone I know think that this is a clear strong suit for him. Sometimes I just dont get it.

                                                                              1. re: Steve R

                                                                                Completely agree. I actually wasn't planning to get the Monkfish but I got there early and got a drink at the bar. While chatting with the bartender (who also knew the menu inside out), I asked him what he thought about the things that I was planning to get and he mentioned that the one thing that he would highly recommend was the Monkfish. Thank god for that :)

                                                                                1. re: indiefoodie

                                                                                  Thanks for the recommendation -- next time, monkfish!

                                                                                  1. re: indiefoodie

                                                                                    Agreed with much of your experience, especially the Monkfish!

                                                                                  2. re: indiefoodie

                                                                                    Looks like we were there on the same night, and I might have had my favorite meal at Louro so far. Three of us had some old favorites (Brussels sprouts salad, piri piri shrimp, scallops with tangerine,the "hamachi," which was the same preparation with sea bass last night). I hadn't tried the pork belly & uni dish before, and I thought it was spectacular. I have some pork belly fatigue, but I thought the uni worked so well with it, especially alongside the pickled cabbage to cut the richness of the other ingredients. And the pork belly was a beautiful cut, perfectly cooked.

                                                                                    But what really made the meal for us were two specials and an entree I hadn't tried before. I just had a bite of the rack of lamb special, but it was delicious and straightforward. But what wowed me were the two fish entrees: one was the Spanish mackerel that wasn't on the menu last time I was at Louro. It is described as "Spanish Mackerel: hearts of palm, spring onions, sea herbs, smoked pineapple." The ingredients might sound a little fussy, but the result was perfectly balanced, light and piquant. My favorite dish of Dave's I've ever tried is his mackerel escabeche -- he has an affinity for this oily fish. Any time he offers it, I jump.

                                                                                    If that was my favorite dish of the night, it wasn't the most fun. That award has to go to the red snapper I had (accompanied by a light curry sauce with potatoes). We were told that the sea bass head had been so popular it was 86'd for the night. Our great waiter, James, asked the kitchen if there was any chance there was a random head rolling around in the kitchen, and we got a red snapper. James indicated that a new fish was butchered for this, and it just shows again how thoughtful the service and kitchen are in trying to please patrons.

                                                                                    I know red snappers can weigh up to fifty pounds. When the waiter brought the head, which was almost the size of an unabridged dictionary, I feared he would get a hernia. I have never seen a fish head this big served at a restaurant, and three of us picked at it for a good twenty minutes. If I'm at an izakaya that offers fish collars or heads, I almost always order it. But they are like goldfish compared to this whale.

                                                                                    Dave also visited our table, and indicated that the fish head idea wasn't a grand plan, but that they have gone through so many fish (and probably more than usual because of the seafood dinner the night before) that he wasn't using the extra heads for anything other than fish stock. Little did he know that his customers would flock to the fish head special.
                                                                                    What a treat!

                                                                                    I love the lemon cake, but think it would be better accompanied by vanilla or olive oil ice cream than a sorbet. The poached pears, I agree, are very good.

                                                                                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                      The seafood dinner on Monday evening was incredible. And, every seat was taken. Wells' review, highlighting the Monday evening supper club, was the impetus for at least four couples we talked with. If even half the diners who attend the supper club as a result of that review return to dine other nights, David will do quite well.

                                                                                      1. re: famdoc

                                                                                        I hated to miss it. Glad it was so great.

                                                                                  3. Just had dinner at Louro. Part 3 of a frenzy birthday weekend which included Jungsik and Aska which I wrote about already.
                                                                                    Got the perky waitress I was reading about. I rather get perky over stiff and professional. She also knew her stuff. Here's the great, the good and the ugly breakdown.

                                                                                    The great:

                                                                                    Piri Piri Shrimp - Really enjoyed them. Not as good as Aldea's preparation and similar dishes we've enjoyed in Portugal but cooked and seasoned very well nonetheless.

                                                                                    Octopus Bolognese - So good. All about the sauce. tiny bits of octopus and goose pancetta? (Pancetta goose blend?). Anything would taste great with that sauce. Thankfully the waitress convinced us to get more bread. "You'll need more for the Octopus"

                                                                                    Monkfish - Delicate, great texture and absolutely delicious. And with that light Portuguese tomato sauce and rice, perfect. Couldnt get enough of it. Thanks Feldman for that reco

                                                                                    Roast Chicken - Wow! I did not want to order it. But wife and kids (2 big time foodie 11, 12 girls) wanted to try and I'm glad I lost that argument. Comes with a nice rye berry risotto and spinach, but that chicken was amazing and with a perfectly crisped and delicious skin

                                                                                    The good:

                                                                                    Seafood fritters - Enjoyed them. Not bad at all

                                                                                    House Made Tortellini - Pleasant, light, filled with Nettles. Not very memorable but tasted good

                                                                                    Striped Bass - This is basically the Snapper replacement. Bok Choy, shiitake, coconut ginger broth. Well done and tasty. Thank you Jesus for sending me a family that doesnt eat mushrooms

                                                                                    The Ugly:

                                                                                    Gnocchi Romana - Ok so before you lash out, I just have to ask to be gentle, and it is my birthday. Also, I dont think its the same dish anymore. The cream sauce just tasted like a regular cream sauce to us (they call it permesan foam) and the gnocchi was semolina not potato. I just kept trying it just to see what I was missing until I finished the plate.

                                                                                    The menu seems to change a lot and it did not match the menu on the site at all. Overall a very good meal. The wife much preferred it over Aska the day before.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                                      I posted on another thread but thought I'd add my review here as well:

                                                                                      Saturday night 4 of us went for dinner. This meal was just stellar! Best of the trip and I would say definitely in the top 10 best meals of my life, maybe even top 5 if I consider the whole experience including the service and the company.

                                                                                      There was lots of sharing so I got to try everything we ordered. Everything was so good that as opposed to having a stand out, I had a one stand back: the piri piri shrimp. They were still delicious, they just didn't stand out. 4 perfectly cooked shrimp in a hot red pepper flake sauce. Period.

                                                                                      The bread was amazing. Delicious on it's own (anyone know the source?) but over the top with a shmear of that pork butter. Heaven.

                                                                                      between 4 of us we had:
                                                                                      Piri piri shrimp

                                                                                      Mushrooms with seabuckthorn, hazelnut puff pastry. We did not expect this, but it turned out to be a cold dish! Totally unusual, complex and seriously delicious.

                                                                                      Baby lettuces with heirloom carrots, watermelon radish and buttermilk dressing. Gorgeous and delicious.

                                                                                      Two Tempura duck eggs with asparagus salad and lemon ricotta. Outrageously fantastic.

                                                                                      Artichoke salad with brocollini, pickled quail eggs and black garlic chips. Complex and seriously delicious.

                                                                                      Two King salmons with pineapple and hearts of palm. Perfectly cooked, crisp outside, tender and juicy inside, unusual and really delicious accompaniments.

                                                                                      Suckling pig: Just yum.

                                                                                      And then we shared 3 desserts, each more stellar than the next, particularly the ice creams which we all thought sounded very odd and all turned out to be fantastic. And major props for a real scoop of ice cream as opposed to one of those little quenelles so often served with dessert that are gone and/or melted long before you're even close to finished with the dessert!

                                                                                      My favorite was the pain perdu with pureed apricot and kernel ice cream. The ice cream is made with the kernels of the apricot pit and tasted very reminiscent of marzipan served along a very flavorful chunk of spiced bread pudding.

                                                                                      Also fantastic were the rice pudding with bay leaf ice cream and candied walnuts and the poached pear crumble with pine needle ice cream.

                                                                                      We polished off every bite and were completely satiated but not uncomfortably stuffed. This meal was not only beyond yummy, it was the deal of the century. With 2 really great cocktails, 6 glasses of excellent wine and 1 decafe the bill was only $220 before tax. And the service was absolutely wonderful.

                                                                                      1. re: plafield

                                                                                        So glad you had a great dinner. Tonight was the first time I've been to Louro for a couple of months, and we had another terrific dinner. It's the first time I've ever been to a tasting menu centered around an ingredient that didn't appear in the meal: ramps! Dave feels strongly that ramps have been over-farmed and are now too expensive and not as tasty as they used to be. So he served a meal with seasonal ingredients that contain no ramps. A witty but serious idea.

                                                                                        And for dessert tonight, we had a dessert centered around asparagus ice cream (with balsamic vinegar, a strawberry coulis, and a delicious shortbread).

                                                                                        Next Monday: a Shakespeare dinner!

                                                                                        But I'm excited about digging into the regular menu -- I haven't had one of the dishes you describe above, so much does the menu change.

                                                                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                          If I lived in NYC I'd be at Louro at least once a month. I'm scheming to figure out a way to be there for one of the Monday dinners!

                                                                                          1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                            That's very interesting. I was wondering what his angle was with the name of the theme dinner.

                                                                                            I went about a month ago to the Spring Lamb dinner and had a lovely time.

                                                                                            I almost went last night but couldn't pull it off. The Shakespeare one next week looks fun.

                                                                                            But I think I need to try the place on a regular night as well, as the menu looks to have a lot of fantastic choices

                                                                                          2. re: plafield

                                                                                            Thanks for the detailed review. We have reservations for this Saturday, and I hope I can stop drooling between now and then.

                                                                                            Since you ordered off the regular menu, did you find you generally preferred the small plate offerings to the large, or not really? While I love tasting menus, I don't think we'll have the time on Saturday, so am trying to strategize a bit. Obviously the small plates appeal more if only to taste more.

                                                                                            1. re: VaPaula

                                                                                              I can't say I preferred the smaller to the larger plates. Everything was really delicious. I think he does a phenomenal job with fish so I'd definitely go for that for a large plate. Also, in the category of "eggs & grains" some of the plates are rather substantial. Ask your server for guidance about how much to order.

                                                                                              For 2 people I think I'd choose 2-3 smaller plates, 1 from eggs and grains and 1 large plate. And of course dessert!

                                                                                        2. I'll be visiting New York in 2 weeks, and thanks to this discussion, I've made a reservation at Louro. There will be four of us.

                                                                                          I'm currently leaning against doing the tasting menus, since that might be more food than we really need, and the description plafield posted of the meal sounds great and similar to what we'd be ordering. But if people do suggest doing the tasting menu, let me know!

                                                                                          Any other specific must-order dishes? Already definitely want to try the uni/pork dish and the tempura duck eggs.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                            If your visit extends over a Monday evening, attend an installment of Louro's supper club. For those of us who have followed Dave Santos' progress, it's unique and enjoyable.

                                                                                            1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                              Their menu changes fast and furiously so I'd be sure to listen to what the specials are and to be flexible. I'm guessing their online menu is 1-2 weeks out of date, so by the time you get here, it'll be about a month out of date.

                                                                                            2. My husband and I are going to Louro for the first time tomorrow night, and I was wondering if anyone would be able to answer a few quick questions that I still have after reading through this thread.

                                                                                              It seems like most people order a la carte and get about 2-3 bites/small plates, 1 entree, and 1-2 desserts for 2 people - does that sound about right? Does anyone know how many courses are in the Chef's tasting menu and whether it is worth it? This is a celebratory dinner for us and we generally like to do a tasting menu when we're celebrating so we can just sit back and enjoy the evening.

                                                                                              My only other question I have is about the dress code. I know the OP said there is no dress code and opentable says casual, but I was just wondering whether nice jeans are appropriate or if slacks for my husband and a skirt for me would be a better idea. I enjoy dressing up for a celebratory dinner, so if jeans are not appropriate we have no problem dressing up a bit.

                                                                                              Thanks!

                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                  The amount of food you are talking about sounds in the ballpark. Some of the dishes in the Eggs & Grains section don't look big but are as filling as some of the fish entrees. In my experience, the servers have been excellent guides about quantities. You can always order more.

                                                                                                  I believe there are 5 courses in the tasting menu, including dessert. It's a very good value. The best part is that if there are one or two dishes you have your heart set on, they'll try to accommodate you. And sometimes you can taste dishes that excite Dave and will soon be on the menu.

                                                                                                  And as Sneak says, jeans are appropriate. If you show up in a tux or a t-shirt, not only will you not get attitude, but no one will care.

                                                                                                  Congrats on whatever you are celebrating!

                                                                                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                    So excited to finally going to Louro next week for one of the special uni dinners.

                                                                                                    1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                      We're going to that one too! Very excited. I've been to the restaurant half a dozen times, but never to one of the special dinners. Plus, Uni=love.

                                                                                                    2. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                      Thanks! I feel like there are so many things that I want to try that it might just be easier to leave it up to them and do the tasting menu.

                                                                                                      ... And thanks - I successfully defended my PhD on Tuesday!

                                                                                                      1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                        Now THAT is worth celebrating. Congratulations!

                                                                                                        1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                          Wow,congratulations!

                                                                                                          My husband and I were just there last weekend and ordered 1 bite, 1 small plate, 2 eggs/grains, 1 main and 1 dessert. It was a perfect amount for us. With a bottle of wine, it was about $135 before tip - a bargain.

                                                                                                          We saw everything from jeans & flip flops to a gold party dress with 6 inch heels. :-) Enjoy.

                                                                                                          1. re: VaPaula

                                                                                                            Thanks Dave and Paula :)

                                                                                                            I'm leaning towards choosing dishes to share, but we'll probably ask the waiter/waitress what they recommend in terms of which dishes to share or whether the tasting menu is a good idea. We're generally craft beer people, but we've been getting into cocktails lately so I think we might try out Louro's cocktails tonight! I'm so excited!

                                                                                                      2. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                        The tasting menu is well worth it. The size of the dishes are very good size. I was too stuffed to finish the last course.
                                                                                                        Without reviewing my notes, there was the gnocchi dish which is fantastic, 2 or 3 meat dishes including short rib dish . The dishes vary probably every night. 2 fish dishes, one of which was cobia and it was excellent. the other a codfish fritter, a vegetable dish. and I think dessert.
                                                                                                        I ordered a la carte on other occasions , only because tasting menu was too much food. For a celebration, definitely get the tasting menu. Well worth it

                                                                                                      3. Did any Hounds go to the uni dinner? I would have liked to be able to go so I'll settle for a vicarious tasting.

                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                          I'm going tonight; they added a second night based on the popularity of this dinner. This is my first time dining at Louro. Very much looking forward to it based on your great reviews.

                                                                                                          1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                            Bring some good wine and don't be afraid to be seated at a table with total strangers. By the second course, you'll have new friends. Besides David's great meal, the interaction with fellow diners is what makes these dinners so enjoyable.

                                                                                                            1. re: famdoc

                                                                                                              Just bought a good bottle of wine (German Riesling), and am looking forward to making new friends!

                                                                                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                                Just be careful who you talk to. We went to one of these dinners and wound up next to a guy named Dave Feldman.

                                                                                                                1. re: Steve R

                                                                                                                  OK, I admit it. The real reason I like Louro so much is that they will let eat there.

                                                                                                                2. re: ellenost

                                                                                                                  I wasn't aware of the BYOB. Is there a corkage fee? We'll be there with 3 people and we'll play the guessing game to see if we can identify other 'hounds.

                                                                                                                  1. re: strangemd

                                                                                                                    No corkage fee for Nossa Messa dinners. Get crazy at your local wine merchant!

                                                                                                                    1. re: famdoc

                                                                                                                      Fantastic. I think ellenost has the right idea. A German or Alsatian might be the way to go with the Uni line-up.

                                                                                                                      1. re: strangemd

                                                                                                                        Think about a fine unfiltered sake, as well.

                                                                                                              2. re: ellenost

                                                                                                                Thanks, Ellen. I'm on my way west or I'd be there tonight. Have fun!

                                                                                                              3. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                OK, so Uni dinner:

                                                                                                                Amuse: Sorrel, white asparagus, Uni truffle vinaigrette

                                                                                                                Uni & Fluke Crudo (meyer lemon vinegar, greek olive oil)

                                                                                                                Ostrich Egg (soft scramble, confit garlic, uni foam, toasted amerinth)

                                                                                                                Uni Chowder (Goose pancetta, smoked onions, mussels, cultured cream)

                                                                                                                Skate and Uni Stuffing (rhubarb curd, tempura arugula, uni butter)

                                                                                                                Uni and Pork Belly (Portuguese kimchi rice, coriander curd)

                                                                                                                Toasted Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream 9Vanilla Cake, Hazelnut brittle)

                                                                                                                The offerings ranged from good to excellent. The Uni chowder was absolutely fantastic, with the goose pancetta adding a deeply satisfying meaty undertone. I would have eaten 3 bowls if they let me. The ostrich egg was also quite wonderful, and the uni and pork belly was an interesting variation on the regular menu dish of the same name, but vastly different prep. Very friendly, convivial crowd with chatty communal tables. And god bless BYOB.

                                                                                                                1. re: strangemd

                                                                                                                  I agree with your assessment of the meal. The chowder and the egg (the amaranth added a nice crunch) were great. The skate dish was the weak link, only because of temperature and plating problems--probably tough to serve that dish to so many diners at once. But it's a fun environment for sure.

                                                                                                                  Oh, and I wish dessert had incorporated sea urchin somehow. I can easily imagine uni custard or ice cream.

                                                                                                                  1. re: wasny

                                                                                                                    I think this kind of problem with tasting menus where everyone is served at the same time is probably insoluble. I went to a banquet of Saipin Chutima's for the Lucky Rice festival and two of my courses were lukewarm when they should have been hot. Tonight, I was at Lotus of Siam and the food was superb. At tasting menu dinners, you cannot assume that other diners are eating the same dish as you.

                                                                                                                    1. re: wasny

                                                                                                                      I had the same thought about the dessert. I remember a long-ago Iron Chef where Morimoto made a squid-ink ice cream for dessert and I was hoping for something gelato-y with Uni.

                                                                                                                      1. re: strangemd

                                                                                                                        I enjoyed the dinner too. My favorite dishes were also the chowder and the scrambled egg with uni foam. Agree that the skate was not too great. I felt the uni butter worked better on bread than the skate. I felt the vinegar somewhat overpowered both the fluke and uni in the first course. People were great; made friends with my table mates even before the first course. I think the restaurant would have done better in terms of timing and temperature of the dishes by limiting the special dinner to only those at the communal table. There must have been at least another dozen guests seated at the bar and at the booths in the bar area also receiving our dishes which obviously overwhelmed the kitchen and serving staff. Glad I went.

                                                                                                                2. Probably my favorite new restaurant I've eaten at this year. Service was really lovely and everything I ate was stellar (with the exception of the suckling pig as the skin was chewy and not crispy -- but still good). My favorite dishes so far have been the tempura egg, octopus bolognese, uni and pork and piri piri shrimp.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                    My husband and I also really enjoyed everything we had last week when we went to Louro for the first time. We ended up doing the tasting menu (thanks to some comments above) and we asked if we could specifically have the uni dish (which the waiter said was already included) and I asked for the tempura egg. Somehow we ended up with a different dish with a poached duck egg instead, so I guess we'll just have to go back and order the tempura egg!

                                                                                                                    I had 2 cocktails and my husband had 1 cocktail and a glass of wine, all of which we enjoyed very much.

                                                                                                                  2. Dinner last night was good but not as great as a previous meal.

                                                                                                                    The pickled sugar snap peas seemed to have lost any inherent sweetness. The dish was far too horseradish-y and the dressing just seemed watery. It was hard to tell any buttermilk was in there. This dish came in a jar and was hard to eat. Only the bottom half had any buttermilk water. The horseradish was all piled onto the top half.

                                                                                                                    Meanwhile, the scallop crudo was much better. Delicate circles of raw scallop, decorated with crunchy sea buckthorns, bathed in a creamy puree. Unexpected and unusual, for sure.

                                                                                                                    The broccoli in textures was awesome! Shaved broccoli stem, roasted broccoli, and tempura broccoli, on a watercress salad, on a fruity puree.

                                                                                                                    The duck tartare was good but not great. I enjoyed the gamey nature of the duck and the pickled cabbage, but the cabbage was not chopped as finely as the duck, so it was hard to maneuver. The thai curry spices had a nice burn, though.

                                                                                                                    The suckling pig was very nice. A generous rectangle of pork in a delicious sauce, with crispy skin. Delicious piquillo peppers and charred onions. I might be spoiled by Txikito's suckling pig, though, which is a bit more fatty and moist, but this was quite good.

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                      Ahh, Kathryn, I wish I filed a report on my dinner 13 days ago, but because I knew I was going this coming week, I thought I'd wait. I had perhaps my favorite meal ever at Louro. I sampled ten dishes, and had only three duplications with yours, all successes (the scallop crudo, the broccoli in textures, and the suckling pig, which I liked very much, although by that point I was stuffed and ate perhaps five bites).

                                                                                                                      Easily the highlight of the meal for me, though, was the truffled pork and clams with Anson Mills polenta cake, tete de cochon, and summer truffle. The brininess of the clams cut the richness of the tete de cochon and truffle cream (which was surprisingly light). A great dish, and sufficient as an entree. Other highlights included the white asparagus papardelle, the roasted heirloom carrot salad, and the Coca-Cola cake dessert.

                                                                                                                      I'll try the pork and clams again on Thursday just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating about how great it was.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                        They were out of the white asparagus, sadly.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                          That meal sounds excellent. I didn't know they have suckling pig there. My only food complaint at Louro is the shrimp dish. The sauce is excellent and the shrimp are cooked to perfection . however, I think they use shrimp from China or Gulf shrimp. They always have an "iodine" taste. I've had the dish on 4 occasions and they always have that taste. They should switch to Colombian shrimp.

                                                                                                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                            Are you referring to the piri-piri shrimp? Never noticed any unpleasant taste. David's piri-piri sauce is incredible.

                                                                                                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                              The suckling pig is a relatively recent addition to the menu. It sounds like I eat at Louro as much or more than any other posters here, but I can't keep up with all the changes in the menu, especially if I go mostly to Monday night special dinners. I don't usually order piri-piri shrimp or the fritters because I've had them often, but I've noticed this off-taste when I have.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                              Dave - I went this past Saturday and the truffled pork and clams is as good or better than you described above. A total "wow" dish. I want to head back this week just to try it again.

                                                                                                                              Other highlights for me and my group (which sampled about 10 things ranging from good (suckling pig) to amazing (the aforementioned clams)); the broccoli in textures was a fun, delicious and most novel salad I've seen in a long time, the special of duck heart gnudi was impossibly fluffy and not-overly-rich, and the octopus bolognese remains one of the best dishes in NYC for my money.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Rich D.

                                                                                                                                I never got a crack at the duck heart gnudi. Looking forward to going tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Rich D.

                                                                                                                                  I am going this Thursday night. can't wait to try all the dishes you mentioned.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                  Went back to Louro for the 3rd time and I think it keeps getting better and better. Sat at the bar and had the tasting menu. I had requested the pork and clams as part of my tasting menu, and the chef sent out a full-sized portion of it in addition to everything else I was already getting on the tasting menu (full disclosure: I've never met the chef and had done nothing to warrant this gift dish). It was as amazing as described.

                                                                                                                                  Cocktails were great and were made by a couple really fun bartenders. Another bonus was at about 10 pm, the music shifted to some great 90s hip hop (apparently the chef is a huge fan).

                                                                                                                                  Other highlights: the broccoli in textures, the roasted carrot salad (on charred miso!), and an amazing halibut dish. I did not love the pork belly (done with the same corn, black-eyed peas, and peach BBQ sauce as the roasted chicken on the menu), but I was honestly too full by the time it came out.

                                                                                                                                  There aren't too many places in Manhattan doing this quality food at a reasonable price point in a non-pretentious setting (or maybe I just don't know about them). It's definitely my favorite place in the city right now. It also is a place where my vegetarian wife gets the same high-quality inventive cooking.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jaba

                                                                                                                                    Take your vegetarian wife to Louro's upcoming vegetarian dinner, to be held as part of the Nossa Mesa supper club's regular Monday evening dinners. For $55, she'll get a five-course vegetarian feast. Plus, it's BYO. Check Louro's web site for details.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: famdoc

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the great report, jaba. I especially appreciate your mention of the halibut, because I'm going Thursday and I haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                              2. Went there tonight with my sis for dinner and had a great time. Ordered a bottle of pinot noir recommended by a nice server. Ordered scallop, white asparagus pappardelle, octopus bolognese, truffled pork and clams and the suckling pig. It was nice of them to also give us broccoli texture and kibby goat salad on the house. My favorite dish was the truffled pork and clams....oh so good. I also liked the scallop dish a lot but i wasn't too crazy about the asparagus...sauce was just too thin and watery. Octopus bolognese was pretty good as well but I've had better bolognese before. Pork was a bit disappointing...while the skin was crackling, the meat was just too mushy for me.
                                                                                                                                We also had a nice strawberry dessert...probably one of the best tasting desserts I've had in a long time. Better than the desserts I had in my recent visits to Bouley and Jean Georges.
                                                                                                                                OH the service was nice as well which is definitely plus!

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                  Monica, I've had better Bolognese sauce also. But I thought it was pretty amazing that they could make a "Bolognese-type" sauce using octopus. So with that in mind, I thought the dish was excellent.

                                                                                                                                2. After a lot of confusion during the day about whether I would have to work into the evening (I cancelled my reservation at 10am and Dave Santos graciously let me re-make it at 4pm), we were so excited to make it to the Dexter dinner last night. I just wanted to post a quick report/summary since we really enjoyed our meal and the whole experience in general. The menu was both extremely creative and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                  Amuse - Maple bacon glazed doughnut - nothing I can say other than delicious

                                                                                                                                  Season 1 - Ice truck killer ike-jime simaji on ice with soy and sea buckthorns - I have never had sea buckthorns before and after eating this course I would like a whole bowl of them. It was served on an individual block of ice for each person, which was a great touch.

                                                                                                                                  Season 2 - 12 step english breakfast - The mushrooms made this dish super earthy and went great with both the blood sausage and chorizo. I'm not a huge baked beans fan but the smoky cannelinis (?) with a poached egg were great

                                                                                                                                  Season 7 - Ukranian pierogi - I thought my husband was going to lick up the borscht vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                  Season 6 - Doomsday killer Luke 4-2 40 days and nights of temptation by the devil in the woods - This dish was also super rich and earthy with the escargot and truffle butter. I heard the buy at the table next to us say it was the best thing he ever put in his mouth and I can't disagree

                                                                                                                                  Season 3 - The skinner cuban style pork - At this point I was getting really full, but I managed to make it through most of this crispy delicious pork belly. The mojo was a little lemony for me, but that's just a personal preference.

                                                                                                                                  Season 4 - Trinity peaches 3 ways - Even though I was stuffed I scooped up every bite of this dessert. I pretty much cleaned the plate of the peach puree.

                                                                                                                                  We can't wait to go back to Louro!

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                                                    I love that this thread gets revived most Tuesday mornings, so I can live vicariously - highly unlikely that I'd be able to get there on a Monday night.

                                                                                                                                    Thank for the review! Sounded amazing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the great blow-by-blow. The two of us got full at the same time! I was on the inside of a booth and I thought of trying to find you. When Dave came out, I asked if you knew where you were seated, and it turned out you just left (I'm not sure you got a chance to say hello to him).

                                                                                                                                      I actually think my two favorite courses were the first two. Geez, I loved that doughnut. And I agree about those buckthorns. They were so good that they properly slowed me down. I'm always mad at myself when I don't take time with crudos.

                                                                                                                                      I happen to watch Dexter, but memory is failing me -- what's the Dexter significance of the English breakfast?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, unfortunately I didn't get a chance to meet him - hopefully next time I'm able to make it I'll get to meet both of you! We were sitting in the back area.

                                                                                                                                        I think the English breakfast is because during the intro he is making a full English breakfast, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                                                          The menu mentioned Season 2 as the inspiration for the course. Looks like we got more courses in our breakfast than Dexter did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWHdPf...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessbnjess

                                                                                                                                            As usual, Dave is way ahead of me. I asked him about the breakfast and he replied:

                                                                                                                                            "Season 2 starts out by his girlfriend thinking he is an alcoholic and making him go to a 12 step program. There he meets the English girl he starts having sex with on the side. The season ends with her killing Dokes and then Dexter flying to London and killing her. Therefore we have our 12 step English breakfast"

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                              I'm glad he replied to you since neither of us ever would have come up with that explanation

                                                                                                                                      2. I debated whether to write a post about my group dinner experience this past Saturday because a) I've already praised Louro on this board enough and b) I'm not sure how often the rib eye steak for two (or more) is available, but I decided to do so anyway.

                                                                                                                                        Long story short -- After two incredible courses spanning 8 or 9 different dishes, the final course, Chef Santos's rib eye for two was absolutely outstanding. A show-stopper. I believe he said that the one group had was 45-day aged (don't quote me on that), and served with an arugula salad and what appeared to be duck-fat fried fingerling potatoes. We had 3 orders of the steak, split amongst 10 guys-- it was more than enough food for these big guys and myself after the earlier courses.

                                                                                                                                        The steak itself had a great sear, just the right amount of fat, was perfectly cooked medium rare, and had the mineral-funk that I seek in a steak dry-aged for a long time. I put it up there with one of the best steaks I've ever had the pleasure of eating, along with Minetta's cote de bouf, Peter Lugar, and Carnevino's bistecca fiorentina for two in Las Vegas.

                                                                                                                                        I hope he makes it a more frequent menu item because it was worth a special trip on its own. As an FYI - I believe the MP on the steak for two was $95.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rich D.

                                                                                                                                          Rich,

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the post, Rich. As another frequent poster about Louro, to be honest it wouldn't occur to me to order a steak at Louro, not because it wouldn't be good, but because I'm usually stuffing myself with apps and the eggs and grains. Seems like a perfect entree to share with a group.

                                                                                                                                          Did you try the new panzanella dessert? It's outstanding.

                                                                                                                                        2. One important thing I love about Louro is that the menu is constantly changing. Very few chefs take the trouble to innovate, and it can become boring. Not the case here. Our dinner last week was outstanding. Suckling pig, which had been slightly dry in the past, was moist and succulent. Bone marrow and mussels was outstanding. Prawns have replaced skate, with papaya salad, really delicious and refreshing. We loved the peaches and cream dessert. We were also comped several more dishes, which was extremely generous. I just can't get over how great this place is.

                                                                                                                                          1. Some of the comments I've read elsewhere have mentioned excessive noise. What do people here think? We can't abide loud music and screaming diners and would not knowingly go to a place where these are a problem.

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                              We are sensitive to noise too, and we have not found it excessive at Louro. It's not quiet, but we have always been able to hear our own conversation without needing to shout.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                I don't think it's a particular problem at Louro. But as someone who lives in New York, I might just have become habituated to it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                  I have a feeling I'll get torched for this because people seem to really like Louro but our experience was just not very good; I will note it was for the Nossa Mesa supper (vegetarian) so maybe that had some impact because of so many people doing the same thing at the same time but it was deafening, I was having a very hard time hearing my girlfriend when the restaurant was in full song. Also, not related to the noise, the service was awful and our server was abrupt to say the least. Food wise, it was a 50/50 split, a couple dishes were truly wonderful, some were complete misses.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                                                                                                    You won't get torched by me. I've dined only once at Louro for one of their Nossa Mesa suppers, and although I enjoyed most of the food, it was too large of a crowd for good service. I think they'd be much better off limiting the supper to a more manageable group (maybe 20). While my server was pleasant, service was extremely slow between courses since the restaurant was overwhelmed by the number of diners (about 1/2 the restaurant for my supper). I might try Louro again, just not on Nossa Mesa supper night.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                                                                      And blame it on my naivete but I guess that's what I was expecting (a very limited number of people). Like you, we may try it again on a non NM dinner night but it can wait.

                                                                                                                                                2. I went to Louro tonight with a companion and had an extremely satisfying meal. Between the two of us we shared the piri-piri shrimp, kibbeh goat felafel, bone marrow, and pork and clams, with the corn pain perdu for dessert. The shrimp were a blast of spice and flavor, shockingly (and blissfully) spicy in a way that I never expect to get in a high-end restaurant. The bone marrow was delicious also, and my absolute favorite was the pork and clams--the broth was just magical, and we sopped up every scrap with an extra basket of bread. The corn pain perdu was surprisingly light and tasty despite its apparent density.

                                                                                                                                                  We tried to order the suckling pig, having been told by our server that there was one order remaining, but then by the time our small plates came out, she told us that it had vanished. Huh? This was rather disappointing, but in the event we had more than enough food without it. The kitchen sent out an extra dessert gratis as a consolation prize, so we didn't cry about it.

                                                                                                                                                  Noise level was lively but not conversation-inhibiting; the place was about 2/3 full on a Wednesday night between 7-9.

                                                                                                                                                  This place is definitely a keeper, well worth revisiting. The majority of the dishes we had were creative and beautifully flavored, and well off the beaten path ingredient-wise. I will keep David Santos on my radar screen for the future.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm heading to the Lobster and Suckling Pig Nossa Mesa dinner with two friends tonight. Can't wait! For those interested (I believe there are a few spots left as per Chef Santos's emails to his mailing list), below is the menu and the cost is $75, BYO:

                                                                                                                                                    Amuse
                                                                                                                                                    lobster and tete fritter
                                                                                                                                                    smoked paprika aoli

                                                                                                                                                    Cracklings
                                                                                                                                                    lobster ceviche

                                                                                                                                                    Cured lardo
                                                                                                                                                    lobster and charred scallion crostinis

                                                                                                                                                    Pancetta
                                                                                                                                                    lobster hash, truffle pudding, poached duck egg

                                                                                                                                                    Pork shoulder
                                                                                                                                                    hoppin john, butter poached claws

                                                                                                                                                    Porchetta
                                                                                                                                                    lobster ragu, creamy grits

                                                                                                                                                    Dessert

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rich D.

                                                                                                                                                      I wish I could have gone, but I am going to Louro on Saturday and can't wait to try some of the new items on the regular menu. Would love a report after you waddle home, Rich.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I came here for the Crazy for Uni dinner ($85) BYOB. It was amazing!

                                                                                                                                                      As suggested by the dinner title, it was all about uni. Menu rundown:

                                                                                                                                                      Amuse: Uni, truffle and grapefruit. Light, refreshing and the truffle really stands-out!

                                                                                                                                                      First course:
                                                                                                                                                      Uni foam on top of fluke tartar, shiso tempura mizuna (some sort of chili powder) This is my fave of the night. it is unique and sensation

                                                                                                                                                      Second course:
                                                                                                                                                      Uni chawanmushi. Super rich and creamy, buttery. accompany with pickled blueberry and crispy crostini. It was good, but too rich for my taste

                                                                                                                                                      Third course:
                                                                                                                                                      Uni dumpling in uni broth and uni butter. This was heavenly but half way through, I was overwhelmed by the richness - it is like New England clam chowder but twice rich

                                                                                                                                                      Fourth course:
                                                                                                                                                      Pork and uni. Milk fed prchetta, uni pudding and roasted mushroom. It was fantastic, very savory. but I could not finish it because I was full :(

                                                                                                                                                      Dessert:
                                                                                                                                                      Preserved peach and nectarine. Good, but I only had two spoons. Not ground breaking.

                                                                                                                                                      All in all, great experience. From food to service to decor, nothing negative I could say about Louro. Definitely come back for more themed dinner.

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadmanhattan

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the blow-by-blow report. If I didn't have to be out of town, I would have been there.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                                          Sign up their mailing list. There are 3 more theme dinner coming in Nov.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadmanhattan

                                                                                                                                                            Nomad, there's a theme dinner EVERY Monday.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                                              Yup! If you are interested in theme dinner or cooking event, check out Underground Eats too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                                                BTW, I recognize Louro is actually at the same location used to be Low Country, a southern, soul food restaurant which serve killer bourbon cocktails.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Did anyone try the truffle menu last night?

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: darren425

                                                                                                                                                            Not me. But I did go to the first anniversary 10-course dinner, and it was outstanding. The striped bass crude w/pickled banana purée, pumpkin seeds, and chili oil, the raw oyster, delicately pickled w/venison tartare, the vanilla lobster, and deconstructed key lime pie were particularly great.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Having not been in awhile, four of us thought that last night's Monday BYOB "Mama Santos' Birthday" dinner would be a fine time to go back, especially since Chef Santos' mother was going to be there and we figured that he'd be at his best doing the foods she taught him ;-) And he was. We're fans to begin with (and know Dave Santos) so we were not impartial going in. No need to mince words here -- there was nothing in the 7course + desserts dinner that I don't think was above average and several dishes that were excellent. The Amuse was Seafood Fritter & a Piri Shrimp, then we received 2 Traditional Salads of Grilled Pig's Ear and Charred Portuguese Sardines, then Soft Scrambled Eggs w/Sweetbreads, then Pork & Clams, then Mariscada, then Feijoada, then Braised Rabbit, then 3 desserts (Flan, Pineapple "Mousse", and Apple Cake). Each (of course) was a small serving, cumulatively adding up to more food than necessary, worth way more than the $65pp he was charging & remaining one of the best deals in the city. If any of the above dishes show up on his regular menu, I suggest you get them. I'm seriously impressed.