28 Apr VIVA LA FRANCE: LAFAYETTE, NYC
The problem with a period restaurant – think France early 20th Century – is that it takes a lot for it to feel authentically old. With its lighting, furnishings and signage, LAFAYETTE is no exception to this restaurant design conundrum. This is no BALTHAZAAR or the recently departed PASTIS, which from its start felt aged with a been-there-forever style. Though, it’s a good enough restaurant, one that could become a safe entree, if pricey, to NYC’s dining totems. Let’s hope there’s some depth and patina to Lafyatte’s shine.
At LAFAYETTE, Andrew Carmellini rolls out a theme-park “grand cafe” in the great voluminous space that was CHINATTOWN BRASSERIE and before that TIME CAFE. The multilevel dining areas, the boulangerie, the rotisserie section and the bar create a hodgepodge setting at LAFAYETTE that feels a bit like a Parisian theme-park a la Disneyland style. But, even still, it’s a space that works in New York, a city where people who think they have good taste (and some definitely do) crowd into a space for something that tastes good.
We gave a chicken salad and a burger a try. Both were beautifully presented, the salad orchestrated colorfully with market greens and micro-dissected radishes, the burger charred perfectly. This was a delicious well executed meal. About the bakes, an excellent cinnamon viennoiserie was a sign that this is a morning coffee and bakes stop. I guess, if I had to be picky I’d wonder what up with the fractional pricing — why not metric, after all we are emulating France, oui?
LAFAYETTE, 380 Lafayette Street, NYC, Tel. 212.533.3000