Loro the combination that shouldn’t work, but does
Austin is home to good food, good music, and good beer. There is such an abundance of these three things in fact, that it it seems impossible to try them all. I don’t claim that Austin is ‘too much of a good thing’, but decision fatigue is a common occurrence for those staying in town. Let us, for a moment, relieve you of that stress by offering a suggestion; Loro.
Loro is the combination that shouldn’t work, yet here it is. Born of two Austin staples; BBQ and Asian food, the place takes the skills from the chefs previously at Franklin BBQ, and Uchi. But it’s not a one to one crossover. The flavors all got thrown into a pot, stirred around with some smoke and fish sauce, and came out something completely different.
BBQ on its own is good. Asian food on its own is good. But together it’s hard to imagine them together without conjuring up the image of a boxing ring with a cowboy at one end, and a sumo wrestler at the other. It seems like the two would fight, and the combined flavor would weigh towards one cuisine over the other. Surprisingly, not the case.
The menu at Loro is weird. Rightfully so, its Austin. But it’s weird by decision. Texas sweet corn with yuzu and kosho aioli doesn’t conjure up any specific flavor in my head. It’s hard to imagine what each item on the menu will really taste like just by reading the names. Instead, Loro is banking on you ordering a lot of little things. Their menu isn’t insanely priced, and while it may be expensive to eat there every day for lunch, going out for dinner won’t have you sweating the bill.
This is where BBQ and Asian culture meet perfectly; family style. A big platter of meat and carbs for everyone to share off of is equally loved by both parties, and filling the table with a spread of items, opposed to one item per person is the norm. This is where Loro excels. Smoked turkey with apricot, orange and mint is a juicy, tender, and divine. The curry chicken has the rich, salty punch that only a smoker can provide, with the complex undertones of sweet curry riding underneath. And the smoked brisket tostadas is, without a doubt the star of our dining experience. Made with the fatty, rich smoked brisket Texas is famous for, but with a shishito pepper salsa, creme fraise, and a healthy pile of cilantro, the combination rocked our world. (Unfortunately this item is only available during their weekday happy hour).
The decor is just as well a perfect fusion of the two. Exposed wood and ‘cafeteria’ style seating is par the course for a long-lined BBQ joint, but is accented with Southeast Asian flair. Netting and hanging lamps cast orange glows, and an open air kitchen shows the hustle and bustle behind the scenes. The real selling point (besides the booze prices) is the outside patio. With a covered and uncovered section, filled with hanging chairs, fire pits, and bench seating, it just oozes welcoming and warmth.
If you live in Austin, chances are none of this is new to you. “Combining Franklin’s with Uchi, of course it’s going to be good” you say. But for those traveling through, or just staying a few days, it’s the kind of place that encapsulates one of those wobbly Austin vibes.
2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Happy Hours 2pm-5pm