Xavier Laurentino is deeply knowledgeable about Spanish food, and has a personal history so rich that he ought to write a book. You'd have time to read it between courses, if he weren't already there relating its contents. He treats you like a guest in his home, which charms a lot of people. But when you're a guest in someone's home, the service is usually very casual. And you eat what the host gives you, and say you enjoyed it. This is expected here, too.
Xaver Laurentino--native of Barcelona--opened his first restaurant on West Esplanade in Metairie in 2002. No sooner had he reopened after the storm than the owner of the building decided to tear down the small strip mall for redevelopment. Fortunately, Laurentino already has a new location in the works--the former Cafe Volage in the Riverbend. He opened there in 2010, after doing a lot of renovation himself.
The converted cottage has been a restaurant for about twenty years, but its spaces are still odd and small. The most interesting part is a kind of back porch outside, charming if you can stand the summer heat. Laurentino himself is the main atmospheric component. He is usually the sole server, and spends a lot of time at each table extolling Spanish cuisine and his interpretations of it. To make up for lost time, he employs unusual service shortcuts--such as a menu that works like a sushi bar's, with customer checking off what they want, and a refusal to allow those bothersome (to him, not his customers) credit card transactions.