Louro, a.k.a the Kickstarter founded restaurant.
Before you jump onto Kickstarter.com and try to fund your own restaurant dreams (which I’m sure many of my readers, and actually myself, hope to do one day), keep in mind that the Louro only asked for $10k to do some minor renovations and kitchen upgrades. The project ended up fetching over $25k. Still a drop in the bucket compared to what it takes to start a restaurant from scratch.
It is only fitting, however, that chef David Santos (unfortunately now known as the Other Chef Santos after Chris Santos’ fame on Chopped) achieve his dreams of owning his own restaurant via a crowd sourced project. He has hosted a Supper Club in his Roosevelt Island apartment for the past few years…. the intimate tastings helping shape his culinary style and progression.
I’m here however not for the novelty of Chef Santos: crowd-sourced restaurant pioneer. I’m here because Chef Santos used to work under Thomas Keller and David Bouley.
Picking from the four separate sections of the menu (bites, small plates, eggs & grains, large plates), you see traces of Portuguese, French, Italian, and even Scandinavian influence.
The one true standout from the smaller side of the menu was the uni and pork belly. Two decadent ingredients put together recklessly can sometimes overwhelm the palate, not here. The combination was well thought out and well executed, and the hefty serving of uni made it better.
Then there’s a dish that somehow landed in eggs and grains section: smoked sturgeon. Perhaps justified by the minor existence of hackleback caviar. Though most of what you see and taste are the lightly smoked raw fish and watercress. The bitterness of watercress matches quite well with sturgeon.
While the smaller plates did not introduce a clear theme, it was quite full of flavor and creativity. Unfortunately the fun didn’t seem to translate into the larger portions.
The duck, which I was really excited about after reading some favorable reviews, arrived not as tender as expected, and slightly under seasoned. Sweetness is a great accompaniment to gamey protein, but there still needs to be sufficient savory elements.
Next came a piece of fish that you don’t see at every restaurant, one that I expected David Santos to deliver masterfully. The Cobia was seared with a crispy outside, with swordfish-like texture within. While the fish had great natural flavors, it felt slightly overcooked. The light curry-mussel emulsion was a nice touch, but couldn’t carry the dish.
On the Kickstarter page, Chef Santos opens the project description with: “New York was missing a successful, quality-driven, and affordable restaurant. A place that anyone could visit for an enjoyable evening and fantastic food, without having to mortgage their home to do so.” That goal is achieved, but Louro could have been so much more.
What does this rating mean?
142 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014