If you’re looking for a fusion of flavors your taste buds have yet to experience, Loro is the Austin eatery that will deliver. Self-described as an Asian fusion slash Texas barbecue restaurant, it wows customers with its laid-back atmosphere, unique bar cocktails, and unexpected menu choices.
Loro is the brainchild of Uchi’s Chef Tyson Cole and Franklin Barbecue’s Aaron Franklin (both James Beard Award winners and household names for great food to Austinites). It is centrally located, reasonably priced, has a great happy hour menu, and is open late. It has quickly become a hot spot for locals.
Outdoor seating and modern light fixtures floating above socializing clientele make arriving customers feel at home. Everyone, including staff, seems happy and excited to be here. Loro has an order-at-the-bar policy for both drinks and food that boosts its relaxed theme. The contemporary interior is decorated in wood tones and overflowing plants hanging from the ceiling and walls. Seating arrangements are flexible.
While I mulled over what drink would compliment Asian/Barbecue fusion, a friendly employee behind the bar noted that I had to try the Gin & Tonic boozy slushee. I’m not usually a big fan of Gin & Tonics, so I politely declined. Ever persistent, the employee offered me a free sample of the frozen drink, and my mind was immediately changed. The Gin & Tonic slushee is incredibly refreshing: ice cold and garnished with a fresh lime slice to add flavor to the simple beverage. When you go to Loro, do yourself a favor and order this drink.
For an appetizer, we ordered Crunchy Sweet Corn Fritters, a pleasantly crunchy pop-in-your-mouth snack topped with a handful of fresh cilantro and Sriracha aioli for dunking.
Char Siew Pork Belly was ordered at the bar after finishing the corn fritters, and was delivered quickly to our table, piping hot. The pork is juicy and well balanced with a mouth-watering combination of spices, herbs, and bits of celery. Served atop an add-on order of coconut rice and glazed with thick house-made hoisin sauce, this dish was a hit.
For an entree, ordering the Smoked Beef Brisket was a no-brainer for me. I’m a huge fan of Texas barbecue, and brisket is one of my favorites. However, this dish had flavors that I did not anticipate. The tender brisket is smothered in a flavorful chili gastrique sauce (caramelized sugar that’s been deglazed with vinegar), bunches of thai herbs, and small crisp slices of fruit bringing an unexpected tartness to the dish.
If you love trying new things and experiencing new cultures, Loro is the place to be. Find it in central Austin, Texas, and don’t forget to order the Gin & Tonic slushee.