Wildly Delicious and Ambitious Asian Smokehouse Sets Opening Date — Finally!

AFTER OPENING IN Austin to great fanfare in 2017 — and really, were two James Beard-winning chefs expecting anything else? — a popular fusion restaurant under the Hai Hospitality umbrella has finally set an opening date for its Houston Heights location.

Loro, an Asian smokehouse from pitmaster extraordinaire Aaron Franklin and Uchi creator Tyson Cole, will open Feb. 23 in a 1940s church on 11th Street. The building, reimagined by celebrated architect Michael Hsu, took significantly longer than expected to complete due to pandemic- and permit-related setbacks.

Expect the delicious dishes and flavor profile for which Loro became instantaneously known five years ago: Melt-in-your-mouth brisket, Southeast Asian spices — and boozy slushies. Chef de Cuisine Marcos Leal, a Mexico-born chef who considers Houston home, will put his own stamp on the menu, which will tout starters like crunchy sweet-corn fritters with Thai chili and fish sauce, and wonton chips with a Thai green salsa for dipping.

Meatier offerings include a smoked prime bavette with shishito salsa verde and pickled onion, and oak-smoked salmon with cucumber-yuzu broth; rice bowls and sandwiches are on the menu, too. And save room for the Yuzu peach cobbler!

Beginning today, foodie fans can enter an Instagram giveaway to try to win a one-on-one hang sesh with Leal and learn how to smoke their own brisket, plus a $200 happy hour to share with friends.

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