>> O Lavrador | Eat the World NYC

05 January 2018

O Lavrador


Since the beginning of time, I have used O Lavrador as a way station. It has broken up many long walks through Queens and served as a great place to kill time when waiting for friends to arrive at JFK. The establishment is split into two parts, and until this day I have only been in the left half, the bar that is dedicated to Portuguese football. Scarves from Benfica, Sporting, and Porto hang on the ceiling and plaster the walls, while national team gear is everywhere. When not in New Jersey, this is the place to come for Portuguese football and will once again feature for the country in our World Cup piece later this year.

The restaurant on the other half is a white table cloth affair, but all the food is also available on this side.

Unfortunately Sagres is no longer exported here in the states.

There are different happy hour specials on every day of the week, sometimes including half-off appetizers. Cheap drinks and tons of regulars have been a staple of every visit. Whether speaking Portuguese, Spanish, or English, the people working here know everyone and treat them all as family.

Bolos de bacalhau, rissois de camarão, and croquetes de carne ($0.75 each, below) are a good bar order in any situation. In order of deliciousness, start with the shrimp, followed by the meat.

The first time I decided to do more than drink here, I was pointed to the francesinha ($14, below), which is described in the menu as a "classic Portuguese sandwich." In reality, the sandwich is enjoyed all over the country, but it was invented in Porto and remains very popular in the north.

Meaning "Little Frenchie," it shares somewhat of a resemblance to the croque monsieur but is strongly adapted for Portuguese tastes. Stacked beef, Spanish chorizo, and ham are topped with mozzarella cheese and an egg then doused with a spicy sauce. It is big and delicious.

Recently I was feeling even more comfortable than normal, and snow started falling heavily outside making my plans for onward meals a bit more difficult. This led to an examination of what else was on the bar menu beyond these snacks.

Adapted from Portugal's former African colonies, piri piri sauce is very popular all throughout the Lusophone world. O Lavrador offers camarão piri-piri ($10, below), shrimp swimming in a very good and spicy sauce made from crushed red peppers.

One dish that is not worth ordering even when half-priced during happy hour is the picadilho ($12, below). Oh well.

Just... don't.

I am very much looking forward to coming back here in June for the World Cup, if not before if I find myself in Jamaica again. A seat at the bar is never a bad decision.

🇵🇹 🇵🇹 🇵🇹
O Lavrador Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato