The Portuguese-accented American cooking of Chef David Santos seduced Chowhounds one table at a time at his Um Segredo private dinners, which he prepared and served at his apartment. Now he's getting out of the house. At Louro, Santos has a more permanent showcase for the robustly flavored yet refined dishes that first won hound attention in his brief stint at Hotel Griffou.
Among the early standouts, Dave Feldman reports on Chowhound, are baked egg with house-made chorizo; seafood fritters with smoked-paprika aioli (pictured); a poached duck egg atop polenta; and gnocchi with truffle cream and onions. Others recommend dourade with pickled banana and cavatelli with artichoke, eggplant, and Parmigiano. If a scallop crudo with grapefruit and truffle oil turns up as a special, get it, Dave urges. The same goes for an "insanely rich and delicious" parsnip soup.
Santos has always been supremely accommodating in his cooking, and at Louro, you can have it your way: à la carte, as a bite or two at the bar, in a $65 tasting menu, or on Mondays in a supper-club format like the Um Segredo dinners, called Nossa Mesa (Our Table). "The food is elegant and beautifully plated," Dave writes, "but the ambience is informal and approachable. [Santos's] Portuguese background is discernible, but it's not a Portuguese restaurant. 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."
Louro [Greenwich Village]
142 W. 10th Street (between Waverly Place and Greenwich Avenue), Manhattan
Seafood fritters photo courtesy of Jay Pascual / The Food Doc