Note: Lusso closed in March 2010. Apparently, Soho didn’t need another average Italian joint.
Lusso opened quietly in January 2009 on a spacious SoHo street corner. I saw a preview in Grub Street, and then…nothing. With 1,000-point OpenTable reservations being handed out like candy, it’s clear that Lusso hasn’t exactly caught on.
We visited Lusso on Friday evening, more out of convenience than necessity. The menu is casual Italian, and the faux rustic space is consistent with this. A small wine wall above the kitchen door is its most appealing feature, a flat-screen TV above the bar its least.
What we found was decent neighborhood cuisine, with the pastas better than the appetizers. We did not try an entrée.
The menu is a bit too expensive, with antipasti $9–16, pastas $12–17, and entrées $22–29. By way of contrast, the superior Locanda Verde does not have an entrée above $26.
The wine list is also problematic, with most of the choices above $50 a bottle. A large selection of Italian small-batch beers is much more compelling, though with prices ranging from $13–33 a bottle, they aren’t cheap either.
An Octopus appetizer ($13; above left) was parched and over-salted. Sweetbread Crostini ($13; above right) featured an odd combination of bacon, dried cherry puree, and chive oil. We debated what the sauce might be (my son thought barbecue), but we couldn’t detect cherries, dried or not.
Pastas were a much happier story, including a lovely Risotto ($13; above left) with sunchoke puree, mushrooms and arugula and a hearty Lasgna ($14; above right) with buckwheat pasta, mozzarella, herb ricotta, and meat sauce.
The meatball side dish ($7; above left) was terrific, and we also liked Rotelli ($15; above right) with fried bread crumbs and chunks of braised short rib.
After mediocre appetizers and good pastas, we didn’t know what to make of this place. Locanda Verde, about fifteen minutes south, is a bit less expensive and a lot better.
Lusso (331 West Broadway at Grand Street, SoHo)