New Bushwick Spot Lorenzo’s Has Perfected the Art of Alcoholic Slushies

The Mo Mango, Mo Problems from Lorenzo’s

Lorenzo’s
19 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
In the same way that new cars have a specific, cloying odor and new shoes possess an audible squeak until they’ve been worn for a while, new bars and restaurants bear a similar burden, an ineffable quality of newness that can feel as uncomfortable as those unbroken-in shoes. This all makes perfect sense, really; a well-run bar operates on the kind of rhythm that takes practice to develop. In other words, reviewers would be kind to steer clear until an appropriate amount of time has passed since the opening. It’s the decent thing to do.

And yet: When have I ever pretended to be decent? When has any critic made claim to kindness? Decency and kindness have little to do with criticism, after all, even though fairness does—and ought to—play a real part. So it was with an open mind and no small amount of generosity that I approached Lorenzo’s, a cavernous new Latin-influenced spot just outside the Jefferson L stop, one recent night. I knew that Lorenzo’s had been open for less than a month, but I also knew that it was owned and operated by veterans of Mother’s Ruin, a popular yet low-key Manhattan bar, known for its excellent late night bar food as well as its booze-y slushies—both of which were menu features Lorenzo’s promised to continue in Bushwick.

And to a certain extent, that promise was met: The drinks I tried—though rather ridiculously named, e.g. the Peach Me How to Dougie or the Take Off My Pants and Jacket—were well-balanced, packed a punch, and reasonably priced. In fact, sitting in the outdoor sidewalk section of Lorenzo’s on an unseasonably warm autumn night while sipping on one (or more) of the house slushies is a perfectly enjoyable start or finish to any night out. Unfortunately, the food menu doesn’t quite live up to its alcoholic counterpart; things maybe start to go wrong with the fact that nachos are described as being adorned with “pork floss,” but they don’t entirely end there. Nothing I had, from the mussels to the swordfish skewer was bad, exactly, it just didn’t rise much above mediocre, and in an area with so many good dining options, it really should.

The service, though, was impeccable; courteous without being overbearing, the waitstaff was so attentive that, after one busboy took away our barely full discarded-mussel shell bowl and was quickly followed by another busboy putting down an empty one, my friend commented, “Where are we, Le Bernardin?” Which, of course, decidedly not. But still, Lorenzo’s shows no small amount of promise as a neighborhood watering hole that could be so much more with the help of a little more time, and the erasure of the words “pork floss” from every one of its menus.

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