Of all the Monday night tasting dinners going on in the 5 boroughs, Louro (142 W. 10th St., NY, NY, 212-206-0606) may just have the most imaginative of the lot.
Take the menu for this upcoming Monday night (Feb. 10): Chef David Santos proposes a Mid-Winter Tropical Rum-ble to guests, celebrating the history and culture surrounding the spirit. Think it’s going to be all tiki-bar drinks and Carribean food? Think again: Santos goes deeper than that, so you’ll find food hailing from New England, the Netherlands – even China and India. All seven courses will be paired with an accompanying rum-based drink, and are included in the price tag ($65).
“I wanted to focus on the history of rum,” Santos says. “What is rum, why do we drink it, where does it come from… what’s the story there?”
This event is just one of many inventive Monday nights at Louro, which feature Nossa Mesa (“Our Table” in Portuguese), the continuation of Santos’ underground supper club Um Segredo. He spends a considerable amount of time researching and cross-checking facts for his themed-dinners, drawing inspiration from just about anything, and often references pop culture events, hot topics, and food issues he thinks are worth talking about.
“The Monday night dinners are an opportunity for me to cook what I want,” Santos said. “It’s a challenge: like, ‘What can I come up with?’ You just find these fun things, and if you think about it – if you’re creative enough with it – you can really use factual history to have fun and make a menu that people can appreciate. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of research, but that’s because I want it to be as real and true as possible.”
Asking about the details of the rum-inspired menu, I found myself on the receiving end of a wonderfully comprehensive, on-the-fly history lesson about the spirit. What is the chef most excited for at Monday night’s Rum-ble? The pairing of a savory rabbit pie with a Portuguese navy grog. An usual combination, inspired by the story that includes a fearless, one-armed sea captain, a barrel of rum and a superstitious crew.
Need more convincing to leave your apartment in these polar climes? Three words: Hot. Buttered. Rum.
You can (and, believe me, you should) make reservations for Nossa Mesa at Louro by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the restaurant at 212-206-0606. We’ll be reporting back on that savory rabbit pie + rum pairing, so stay tuned; and check out the Louro website for more on upcoming dinners. “We try to have as much fun with it as possible,” Santos said. “It’s a new adventure every time we do it.”
Mid-Winter Tropical Rum-ble at Louro: Monday February 10, 2014, 7pm – $65 including food + cocktails
- Chinese and Indian Origins: Pork pot sticker and samosa, paired with Mai Tai, made with housemade orgeat
- Brazil 1620: Red Snapper Crudo with lime, mint, cashews, paired with Caipirissima
- Barbados 1651: Mahi Mahi Souse (chilis, cucumbers, pork), and sweet potato pudding, paired with Pineapple Rum Martini, made with fresh pineapple juice
- New England Leads the Way: Pollock chowder, paired with New England Rum Punch, with cranberry, rum, and lemonade
- Trinidad and Jamaica: Red okra and jerk chicken, paired with Orange and Ginger Rum Highball
- Lord Nelson’s Blood: Savory rabbit pie, paired with Portuguese Navy Grog
- The Dutch: Dutch butter cake with apple ice cream, paired with Hot Buttered Rum